First, before I begin, I want to again thank everyone for caring about our city's future and sharing your thoughts and ideas about how we can move this community forward. I really am listening, because I know it's going to take all of us to change this city from a place people move away from to a community people move to. The wording is important because a city is just a place. But to me, a community is a home where everyone works together to make things better for all who live there. We need to work on that.
And the good thing is, it doesn't cost us anything. A smile, a "good morning", holding a door, picking up a piece of trash, looking out for a neighbor, voicing your opinion; participating rather than complaining. No cost, great benefits. It's that "quality of life" thing that's so important to a community.
I'm writing this article while sitting in what is going to be our campaign headquarters (2512 Niagara Street). I look around, and I see two Republicans, a Democrat, two Independents, a Conservative, a couple of Working Party representatives, a gun-toting Tea Partier, and a card-carrying Green Party advocate. Wow! So what exactly does that make me? Perhaps one of the luckiest people ever to run for public office.
Think about it. All those ideas, all those voices, working together for just one purpose: making Niagara Falls a better place for all its citizens, not just the chosen few. All my life, I have believed that the political party is only as good as the citizens who represent it. While this means I may never be considered a good political soldier for any one party (thus, the lack of party support and patronage jobs), it allows me to see the good in all parties and realize that everyone has something to bring to the table.
During this campaign, one of my opponents, when asked what he thought of me, stated: "Just listen to him speak! Read the articles he's written! It's clear that man truly has issues." I want to thank him for his astute observation. Now, if we could just get him and the other politicians to be concerned with not just the issues of the citizen running against them, but of the issues of all Niagara Falls citizens and businesses.
Changing the subject, I met with someone the other day who wanted to help by imparting to me political wisdom. He said, "Campaigns are won by money and negative mailers". He stated that mailers and negative advertising "ain't cheap". That's why you need plenty of money to keep your opponent worrying about defending both his family and his own personal issues, rather than addressing the issues facing the community. He then proceeded to take credit for political successes he claimed, and to blame political failures he's had not on the candidate he was working with, but rather on the party he represented, for not being willing to come up with the money for "just one more negative mailer".
Ouch. I will firmly state again that there will be no negative mailers on my part attacking the candidates' families and personal issues. I promise you, this campaign will be about only the issues facing the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls. I started this campaign not for the money, position, ego or pensions, but rather out of concern for what the average citizen and business in Niagara Falls goes through every day. I have no huge political backers. I have no one's favors to repay. The only allegiance I would have would be to the citizens who elected me.
If I fail, I blame no one except myself, because I was not able to make you, the citizens, see that true power is not in money, party, or political connections, but rather in your voice and your vote. True change in Niagara Falls can only come at the hands of the citizens.
We need to listen to the wisdom of our elders, because they are our history. We need to listen to those who get up and work every day, because they are our strength. And most of all, we need to make a welcome place for our children, because they truly represent our future. Regardless of what the politicians want you to believe, what lies ahead of us is not an impossible task. One politician, one party, one grand project cannot create change. But if, together with that, we throw together all the citizens and businesses, regardless of their party, working together with one goal...well, how do they say it? Now that's truly a whole new ball-game.
As always, I thank you for listening, because clearly, as my opponent stated, I truly am a man with issues.
P.S. When my opponents come to you for support, and ask you to sign their petitions, I would greatly appreciate you saying, "I'm sorry, but I'm saving my signature for the man with issues". This, I ask because I truly know that without you behind me, we can't win.