Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 8, 2013

Primary challenge for city council Dems

Niagara Gazette — Registered Democrats will vote to give three general election lines to four candidates in a primary next Tuesday.

Incumbents Sam Fruscione, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker will look to fend off newcomer Andrew Touma and secure the line of their registered party for the Nov. 5 general election.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

Touma, who has been an educator for 19 years, has spent most of that time with the Niagara Falls School District teaching at six grade levels and spending part of his career as the director of the Community Education Center.

Touma, 45, said he is running for office to bring a questioning but cooperative and respectful attitude to a legislative body that he believes has become too politically entrenched.

“This is the only way we can move forward on important issues such as economic development, or holding the line on taxes while growing our city and still providing those services our residents need and deserve,” he said in an emailed response to questions from the Gazette. 

Touma said he would fight to create an environment where business owners felt welcomed in the city.

“We all need to be watchdogs for our taxpayers, but that means not only cutting waste in government but also growing the city, its businesses, workforce and tax base,” Touma said.

Walker, who is the longest serving council member, having first won a seat in 1999, is a community outreach director at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

The 54-year-old councilman said he is running for another term because he is finally seeing some of the ideas he talked about in his first campaign beginning to happen and he wants to see that vision through.

“I am running because I believe the city is moving in the right direction and is ready for investment and there are developers ready to jump in,” Walker said.

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