ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Voters in Elmira will soon decide the future of the city’s leadership. The Mayor and all six city council seats are up for reelection this year. The general election is on November 7th, but primary early voting starts in June. Some races are already taking shape. These are the current district lines:
The 5th district seat is up for grabs since councilman Tory Kitching will not be seeking another four year term. Marilyn Paulo is the republican candidate and will not face a primary from her own party. “I’m really committed. I’m seriously committed and that is why I’m running,” Paulo told 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina.
Paulo says she was born and raised in Elmira and has worked in management and sales. She has been a member of the Chemung County Republican Committee for more than 20 years.
“I want to see what I personally can do to help the administration as well as the community,” said Paulo. “I’m concerned about the homeless community. I’m very concerned about that. I would like to see what we can do to help take care of this situation. There’s also a lot of restoration going on in the city, and I’d like to see that continue.”
At least 3 candidates are running in the democratic primary. Jackie Wilson is a real estate agent and lifelong Elmira resident. Wilson ran for the 5th district seat in 2019 but lost to Tory Kitching.
“I am probably Elmira’s biggest cheerleader,” said Wilson. “I’m very involved in the community, so running for city council is something I really want to do. I just feel I can affect positive change. People are very concerned about quality of life here.”
“What are some of those issues?” asked Dubina.
“Well, certainly safety, security, crime, poverty, the drug problem, and just as a citizen feeling safe in my community,” said Wilson. “As a real estate agent and a landlord, I’m acutely aware of the problems and I’m able to have the information to know how to improve things.”
Jeffrey Aaron is a former reporter who worked for The Star Gazette over the course of 25 years. “At the end of my career I covered business, but I also covered county, village and local government, so that’s given me a chance to view political happenings from the outside. If I’m lucky enough to be elected, I’ll be able to work on things from the inside,” said Aaron.
“What does the fifth district need?” asked Dubina.
“The fifth district would need anything that could bring jobs, but more importantly, when you get new redevelopment in a specific plaza, you will also get additional development around it to improve the properties.” Aaron says crime and safety issues are also a top concern.
“As I’ve knocked on doors, Nick, I’ve noticed almost everyone has those security doorknobs where you push the button, and it rings, it shows the picture on the inside. But a more important indicator is, I’m knocking on doors and I’m hearing some very big dogs on the other side of those doors, which is a clear sign to me that public safety is one of the primary issues on resident’s minds,” said Aaron.
David Strader is an independent contractor. Strader says his campaign is about accountability and transparency. “In my personal opinion, for too long, I feel as if the people of the fifth district have been underrepresented,” said Strader. “I am trying to bring about change on the local level to get more people involved and engaged in what’s happening at City Hall. I want to focus on public safety. I want to make sure that the constituents in the area know that they are going to be safe in the streets, that we have a duty as public servants to take care of our people, no matter what.”
“Also, I want to try to mitigate the amount of litter on the street by creating a community environmental initiative. I’m looking at trying to develop some sort of volunteer program for people to get involved that I would be involved with personally myself,” said Strader.
Primary Early Voting runs from June 17th to June 25th. The Primary Election is on June 27th. The General Election is on November 7th. For more information about voting and key dates from the New York State Board of Elections, click here.
To learn more about who currently represents other districts and upcoming Elmira City Council meetings, click here.
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