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Colangelo to Challenge Zona in the 5th District

Jason Zona

Giulio Colangelo

Niagara Falls High School business teacher Giulio Colangelo, 45, has announced his candidacy in the upcoming election for the 5th District of the Niagara County Legislature.

He will run against incumbent Democrat Jason Zona, 38, a captain with the Niagara Falls Fire Department.

Colangelo, a member of the Independence Party, was appointed by the Republican majority to serve as an interim legislator in 2011, completing the unfinished term of Legislator Richard Marasco in the former 1st Legislative District.

Zona won election to Marasco's seat in 2011 against Britney Catchpole by a 60-40 margin.

The reconfigured district is now the 5th legislative district.

Casting himself as an independent voice, Colangelo said: “I was honored to have had a short-term opportunity to represent the citizens of this community, and though I learned much, I was deeply concerned by the initiative lost as a result of inter-party bickering.”

Colangelo hopes his minor-party affiliation will help avoid such problems.

Colangelo is a lifelong resident of Niagara County, and a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia. He earned a master’s degree in education from Niagara University in 2003 and a second master’s degree in special education from Canisius College in 2004. He began his teaching career in 2003 as a Special Education teacher at LaSalle Middle School and has taught business at Niagara Falls High School since 2008. He is head coach of the Niagara Falls High School Boys Club Lacrosse team and formerly was NFHS Varsity Basketball Coach.

His teaching and coaching career, he said, provides "valuable insight as to the needs of our families in today’s society.” Colangelo currently serves as a member of the Niagara County Youth Bureau Board of Directors.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in the DeVeaux area and are members of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Parish at St. Joseph’s Church in Niagara Falls.

For 13 years, Colangelo has been a member of the Cristoforo Colombo Society, currently holding the position of Society Trustee.

Before beginning his teaching career, he was a small business owner, having operated the Wall Paper and Paint Shoppe in Lewiston between 1990 and 2002, experience which he says gave him a unique perspective on the challenges facing local businesses.

"Small businesses remain the lifeblood of this community,” said Colangelo. “Yet far- too- often, ‘hometown enterprise’ has been overtaxed and under-represented as it works to compete with the advantages afforded to big business.”

Colangelo sees jobs as the number one issue facing this community.

“I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household where the family’s needs, like so many others in this community, were for years met by a father working one of the thousands of industrial jobs available in the western end of Niagara County. I firmly believe that our present day workforce has that same work-ethic of our parents’ generation. Frankly, it remains in the laps of our elected officials to expand the local job market to best take advantage of this resource.”

In terms of voters, the 5th District is an almost equal combination of a part of Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by about 2.5 to one.  Counting minor party lines and those not affiliated with any party, the Democratic edge is about 60 percent.

It is expected that Colangelo will get the endorsement for the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties. Zona is expected to get the endorsement of the Democrats.

In 2011, Zona did not get the Independence Party endorsement but waged a write-in campaign and won the primary and appeared on the ballot for both Democratic and Independence parties. There are about 300 registered Independence Party voters in the district.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

May 07, 2013