For quite some time I have been paying close attention to state and local government. When I had the chance to speak to politicians, I was always sure to ask “Why?” we did something the way we did. I was often disappointed to hear the dreaded “That’s the way we’ve always done it” response. After seeing the Niagara County stagnate and our population continuing to decline, I knew it was time for new leaders to get involved in government.
I decided to run for an executive board position for my police department’s union. I was proud to have won the support of our members and I was excited to represent my brothers and sisters in uniform. Our department is at a generation crossroads as we have a mix of experienced and newer officers working together. Decisions are being made today as to where we see our department headed in the years to come.
Being a new leader can be difficult but I was encouraged with the feedback and the advice from my fellow officers. The experience led me to look around and see what other areas in our community needed improvement. After taking part in settling some department safety issues, I began to take a hard look at what was happening in our public-school system.
I was ready to run for school board as I was, and still am, the only board member with children currently attending our district. I was a prior high school wrestling coach and I had some ideas for change from both a coaches and police perspective. I met with parents and teachers and I did my best to understand all the pros and cons of our district. As I was deciding where I could be most helpful, I realized we had fallen behind on the issue of school security.
We were one of the only districts in the area to not have a School Resource Officer (SRO). With the devastating active shooter events happening around the country, I knew we could no longer let security be an afterthought. I was proud to be part of the effort to appoint a full time SRO at our main high school complex. We also increased security in other areas including new security cameras, security guards, and a new visitor identification system. During my time on the board we have also settled labor contracts that were fair to both our teachers and our taxpayers.
When I decided to run for Niagara County legislator, I had several ideas on where our county needed to implement changes. Niagara County must do a better job with veteran outreach, first responder support, and communicating with our residents. We need to support local businesses and bring technology and innovation into the county legislature.
Our county government must become change ready. Our politicians must constantly adapt and focus on thinking ahead. We must seek out and embrace change early and understand how we can meet the needs of our community with a proactive approach to government. Politicians must shift their mind set from what we’ve always done, to what could be possible with new ideas and imagination to solve our community issues. We need new leaders with a fresh take on how government works and leaders who aren’t afraid to ask Why? We must imagine moving Niagara County forward.
7th District Niagara County Legislature