Niagara Gazette

March 31, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Falls council candidate wants to be 'voice of reason'

By Andy Touma
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — My name is Andy Touma and it is my intention to seek one of the three seats available on the Niagara Falls City Council this year. I’m a lifelong resident of this city, having been born and raised in LaSalle and now residing in DeVeaux.

As an educator in the Niagara Falls School District for the past 18 years, I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people who were working very hard to raise their families, advance their careers, and improve the quality of life in our city. I have admired these residents who are using their unique skills to help our community recover from decades of decline brought on by poor decision making and difficult economic conditions.

In my professional life, I base my decisions on what is best for all of my students. I know my decisions will impact their well-being and potential success. Similarly, as your councilman, I pledge to work for all the residents of Niagara Falls in serving their best interests. Together, we will work to move our city forward. I pledge to be open to your ideas and input and to utilize your unique talents in the accomplishment of our shared goals. You can be sure your voice will be heard! Working together, we can change our future for the better.

My goal is to make Niagara Falls a place in which businesses wish to invest, and residents receive the essential services they deserve. Business investment in our city results in both revenue growth and an expanding tax base. However, developers will not consider investing in Niagara Falls unless all departments within city government are united and working together. City hall needs to be more business-friendly and assist future business owners in accessing any and all available local resources. I will work to instill a welcoming atmosphere that will support investors and assist them in the all-important process of nurturing their development ideas from dreams into realities.

I plan to be a voice of reason on the city council, who works to bring the mayor and council into a joint partnership that respects the ideas and decisions of each side. I want to establish an atmosphere of cooperation between the council and the mayor that will encourage working toward a common vision for the improvement of our community. I’m sure there may be times when I disagree with the views of residents, council members, or the mayor. However, the expression of my views will always be done respectfully and in recognition of the dignity that everyone deserves.

I will fully support the many community organizations that strive to improve life in Niagara Falls. I believe in the value of the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, the Niagara Beautification Commission and the various neighborhood block clubs. These organizations, as well as many others, make up the fabric of a vibrant community. They are essential to our community’s continued growth and improvement. Shutting out groups of civic-minded individuals who want to lend their time and talents to our community is certainly not a characteristic of progressive government. How many times over the past two years has a majority of city residents encouraged our elected leaders to adopt a particular course of action, only to have the city council set off in a completely opposite direction? It’s time we all worked to put this city back on the right course.

Lastly, Niagara Falls is my home and, obviously, I’m not happy with the condition in which we find our city. I will strive to represent all of our residents and be their voice within city government. During this year’s campaign, I’m sure you will often hear me say that our city needs a new direction. Our families deserve better. Our community deserves better. I eagerly look forward to meeting the residents during this campaign and convincing them to support my candidacy.

Andy Touma is a Niagara Falls resident and a candidate for the Niagara Falls City Council.