Mike Pillot is running in the Democratic primary for mayor of the City of Lockport.
He was born in the city - in October 1954.
He has lived in the city his whole life, raised by his mother, alone, because his father died when he was young.
Mike Pillot worked at a grocery store when he was 11 and has worked ever since.
At a gas station, at Fisher Price.
On Dec. 6, 1976, he was stabbed from behind while in his taxi - by two guys and robbed of $11 and a watch worth another $11.
And dumped behind a plaza.
Both men were caught after Pillot identified them.
And it was at the cab company, 37 years ago, where Pillot met his wife, Dee, and it's his claim that it was love at first sight.
While he worked dispatch, she came in one night and wasn’t as impressed as he was, in fact telling him she didn’t like his laugh – to which he said, “if you don’t like it, you can leave,” which she did.
After she left, he told his co-workers, “I’m going to date that girl” to which they said, fat chance.
Later he ran into her and gave her a ride home and in front of her parents’ home they spoke in the driveway for an hour and five weeks later they were man and wife.
“I had my first date with my wife on our honeymoon,” Pillot said.
There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.
He and his wife live on Waterman Street.
They raised two children and a grandson.
In 1982, Pillot joined his hometown City of Lockport Police Department - where he served 25 years. He worked in juvenile, as a firearms instructor, a hostage negotiator, an accident investigator. And he walked the beat.
When asked how many people he arrested, he answered, “The least of anybody.”
He was the policeman around the corner.
At the cross-roads – for an arrest or non-arrest can be the cross-roads of a person’s life.
“Always listen to the voice of your conscience,” that’s Pillot’s message.
“If I could give somebody a break, I would,” he said.
In 2007, after retiring from the force, he ran for mayor against incumbent Mike Tucker.
Tucker beat him by more than 2,000 votes. Pillot got only 28 percent of the vote.
He ran again in 2011, against Tucker again. This time it was razor thin. Tucker won by 299 votes, 53 - 47 percent.
If 12 bags of ballots had not fallen off a truck – on their way to be counted - mysteriously - skewing official results – the election night victory by Tucker might not have been victory at all.
Now Pillot is trying again, for a third time as the Democratic candidate. He must really want to be mayor of his hometown.
“I know the city. I know every single street, every alley,” he said. “I watched it go from a growing city to what it is now. And I think the city has a chance to be what is what was before.”
Pillot wants to halt tax hikes, and says he will be beholden to no one.
“Don’t endorse me if you want anything,” he says. “I’m in nobody’s pocket.”
He said he is pained by the struggles he sees.
All cities are beautiful, but the beauty of Lockport is grim.
“Sometimes people – seniors especially - can hardly make their tax payments and buy medicine and food. It's supposed to be their golden years, and yet these politicians want to take tax money to pay for concerts that the senior will never attend.
"I can’t promise to lower taxes but I will keep them stable,” he said. “The only persons I’ll work for are the taxpayers.”
I shall leave the city not less but more beautiful than I found it, boasted each of the citizens of Athens.
"I would look for every cost cutting measure possible," Pillot boasts, claiming the biggest challenge is finances - paying back loans, layoffs, submitting budgets to the state Comptroller's office, fixing aging infrastructure.
"Consolidating, merging, everything,” he said. “If I get in, I will look at every single department, look at every cost-cutting measure. I will save money in any way and every way. We have to look out for the elderly. Most people in the city are on a pension. During my campaigns I sat in a lot in a lot of people's living rooms; people are having a hard time.”
Pillot squares off in the Democratic primary against Roger Sherrie who retired last December after a 28 year career with CSEA union.
The winner of the primary will face incumbent Republican Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey.
"I believe in the city," Pillot said. "I believe the city still has a chance to go forward. It's why I want to give it one more shot."