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Gawel to Seek Chairmanship of City GOP Committee

Michael Gawel …seeks to lead city GOP

Former Councilman Michael Gawel says it is time for new leadership at the helm of the Niagara Falls City Republican Executive Committee and he will be challenging current GOP Chairman Vince Sandonato for the top job at the reorganization meeting in September.

Gawel, who has been a highly visible figure in local political circles in recent weeks, said on Wednesday the party needs an energetic chairman to lead the charge on petitions for Republican candidates “and I believe I can be that person.”

Gawel, in announcing his candidacy to lead the GOP committee, noted that he was the emcee of last week’s party celebrating Councilman Ken Tompkins as the highest elected Republican in Niagara Falls and while there was a strong turnout of residents and elected officials, “no one from the City Executive Committee or from the Niagara County GOP leadership team showed up for the event” which was held at Gagster’s.

The people who did turn out are concerned with what’s happening in Niagara Falls, said Gawel, adding “they want to make things better and they are not happy with the current leadership,” citing Sandonato for not holding a committee meeting during his chairmanship over the last two years.

With that as motivation, Gawel said “I am throwing my hat in the ring to be their leader and the next chairman of the Niagara Falls City Republican Committee.  We need someone to lead the charge on petitions for Angelo Morinello (Assembly), Robert Ortt (Senate), and the Republican candidate for district attorney and I believe I can be that person.”

Gawel said he is urging that everyone who wants to make Niagara Falls better and who believes in a two-party system to circulate GOP committeemen petitions and make the party relevant again, adding he will be glad to help anyone who wants to circulate GOP petitions.

Sandonato, a former county lawmaker who currently serves as a Niagara County public defender, said he plans to seek re-election as chairman and said of the challenge launched by Gawel “he can do what he wants.”

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