Former Gazette Publisher runs for City Council

Why I’m running, where I stand

By Chris Voccio

On May 12th of this year I turned 50 and I retired from the newspaper industry, where I spent 30 years. Late that afternoon I also announced my candidacy for Niagara Falls City Council. That wasn’t originally part of the plan.

Retiring at 50 was a goal I set years ago as I began to embrace minimalism and simple living, reducing my expenses and building my savings. When I moved to Niagara Falls to turnaround the finances of the Niagara Gazette, I knew I would be retiring soon, and Niagara Falls’ low housing costs along with its great quality of life, especially for people who like the outdoors, made it a good prospect for my retirement.

I didn’t have to retire here. My options were plentiful. But I like living here and chose to stay here. Retirement living would be good. Lots of hiking at the Gorge, some volunteer work and lots of travel.

Early this year, after I announced my retirement date to my staff and my employer, I began to consider that I could offer something more to my adopted city than the volunteer work I anticipated. My background, my skill sets and talents and my interest in government put me in a good position to make a difference in Niagara Falls.

As I looked at the other candidates entering the city council race, I began to think I could offer voters a different sort of candidacy. So I made my plans and on my 50th birthday I jumped in the race.

Since my May 12th announcement, a lot has happened:

* I’ve walked the entire city, knocking on the doors of almost 7,000 likely voters. I’ve heard the concerns of the voters from all parts of the city.

* I’ve talked tirelessly about the three most pressing issues facing the city: Fiscal responsibility, public safety and economic development.

* I put forth my 10-5 Plan, calling for a 10 percent pay cut for all elected officials and asking city employees to generate ideas to trim an additional 5 percent from the budget. (Whether my 10-5 Plan is adopted or not, I will take a 10% pay cut on day one.)

* I proposed a War on Blight in the form of a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an army of Niagara Falls’ youth that would tackle the city’s blight each summer. (This was derived from a Bob Confer column in the Niagara Gazette.)

* I’ve been endorsed by both the Conservative Party and the Independence Party.

* As the Buffalo News reported, I was the target of an effort to take down my only political sign, which hung from a fence on my property, because it violated a city ordinance that the New York Civil Liberties Union and I both believe is unconstitutional.

It’s been a fun campaign so far. As I write this column, the primary election is two weeks away. Here’s my case for why you should consider voting for me:

* 30 years of private-sector experience, the last 15 years being a newspaper publisher, the top position, at newspapers across the country.

* Served on the boards of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Niagara. I’ve served on various boards in cities across the country, gaining a diverse perspective.

* I hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant University in Rhode Island and I earned an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

* Under my leadership, the Niagara Gazette was named Business of the Year by the Niagara Street Area Business Association and Organization of the Year by Leadership Niagara.

* I am a principled conservative and I’ve been a Republican my entire adult life. I haven’t switched back and forth for political expediency. I’m a principled guy who has core values that mean something.

* If elected, I will be a champion for limited government, fiscal sanity, individual responsibility, free enterprise and the rule of law.

For more information about my candidacy, visit my campaign Facebook page at www.ChrisVoccio.net or email me at chrisvoccio@gmail.com.

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