NORTH TONAWANDA—The decision by longtime political fixture Philip R. “Russ” Rizzo to retire from public life marks the end of a great career in civic service, and is a bittersweet occasion for local Republicans and the North Tonawanda community, the head of the Lumber City’s Republican Party said tonight.

“Russ Rizzo’s passion for improving this community and helping his neighbors always set him apart as a leader,” NT Republican Chairman Mike Carney said, after Rizzo informed him of his decision to step down from the city’s Common Council, just days after declining to seek another term as the body’s president. “He will be sorely missed.”


Chairman Carney pointed to Rizzo’s record, including his success, during his sole term as a county legislator, in brokering a deal between the city, Wheatfield, Niagara County, and state representatives, to alleviate flooding on Witmer Road—something Rizzo has long held up as his proudest accomplishment—as evidence of the lawmaker’s tenacity.

“Russ didn’t believe people when they told him something was too ambitious,” Chairman Carney said. “He saw government’s job as fixing problems and protecting homeowners.”

Chairman Carney then rattled off a list of Rizzo’s boldest accomplishments, including spearheading initiatives that redeveloped the marina at Gratwick-Riverside Park and secured a long-term lease to open a restaurant there, efforts to equip auxiliary police and the Gratwick Hose volunteer fire company, and his strong advocacy for re-launching the Canalside Concert Series.

“Russ was very often ‘Mr. North Tonawanda,'” Chairman Carney said. “He also did a fantastic job getting back to his constituents, calling them back, staying on top of their issues. He challenged our Republican-led city government to work as diligently as he did.”

Chairman Carney added that he wished Rizzo happiness in retirement.

“Russ has earned some time for himself and his family,” Chairman Carney said. “He made our community a better place to live; now he deserves to go out and enjoy that fact.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
.wpzoom (color:black;}