Parental Example A Motivating Factor Behind Spanbauer Candidacy

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By: John Spanbauer

Candidate for Niagara Falls City Council

With the primary election only a few days away, I want to share with the citizens of Niagara Falls some of my background in the hope that they will better understand why I am seeking a seat on the City Council. 

First and foremost, I am a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls. My wife Holly and I have raised our two children, Eric and Brooke, here. I grew up on 20th Street and LaSalle Avenue and was fortunate to be raised in a family with two parents who led by example. They were hard workers who instilled moral and ethical values in their children.

My mother, Patricia “Pat” Spanbauer, was very active in the community, in addition to holding many part-time jobs to make ends meet. Though she passed away at the young age of 48, my sisters, brothers and I are very proud of what she accomplished in her lifetime.  She was president of the Niagara Catholic Parents Association, Mount Carmel Mothers Club, Niagara Falls Federation of Home School Associations, Parochial School Basketball League, and a treasurer of the Cataract Little Loop Football Association. She was also a member of the Mount Carmel Parish Council, Niagara Catholic High School Advisory Council, and held a seat on the task force for the Bishop’s Committee on Secondary Education. She also was a volunteer for numerous community events.

My father, John Spanbauer, attended Niagara University. During his time at NU, he captained the freshman and varsity basketball teams. After graduation, he served in the Marines. “Span,” as he was known, was very involved in the Niagara Falls sports scene and was inducted into the Niagara Falls Old Timers Hall of Fame in 1997. He worked as a Niagara County probation officer for 30 years. He also held many part-time jobs to make ends meet. He worked for the city’s recreation department and officiated softball and basketball games. He also coached Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s basketball team for many years. He passed away in 2004. 

In addition to the enormous impact my parents had on me, so, too, did my five siblings, Karan, Mike, Tricia, Tom, and James.  Growing up in the Spanbauer house was both fun and challenging, with one bathroom for eight people. We were taught that if you wanted something, you had to work for it. It was tough love, but good love. 

Since my high school years, I have been a person who has given back to the community. I have often dedicated my free time to assist non-profit organizations such as the Police Athletic League, Special Olympics, Niagara University’s Brothers and Sister’s in Christ, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, St. George’s Food Kitchen, and assorted community events.  After high school, I attended Niagara University, where I worked my way through college with no financial support from my parents. I know they wanted to contribute, but there were just too many kids and not enough money to support the expenses of college. 

After college, I was hired by the Niagara Falls YMCA as the director of youth. After five years with the Y (1983-88), I was hired as an administrator at Niagara University, were I worked for 30 years on a full-time basis. After retiring from NU, my inherent work ethic has kept me involved in a number of part-time jobs such as adjunct professor, limo driver, seasonal golf course work, officiating basketball, and mail order assistant. My years at the YMCA and Niagara included providing education and recreational programs for the less fortunate.  

I provide this information because my roots and family background have made me who I am today. My parents were always doing more than they had to to make the community better. I have tried to follow their example, as I now dedicate my time and energy to making the City of Niagara Falls a better place in which to live.  

Although new to politics, I am not naïve. I understand that making Niagara Falls better is going to be a challenging task. The city has problems: budgetary, crime, infrastructure, lack of adequate equipment for public safety, a poor sense of community, lack of confidence in the city’s leadership, etc. But the good news is that problems have solutions, and I want to be a part of the solution. I will work with all parties to find the solutions that are so desperately needed to move this city forward and make it better. No matter whether city leaders are Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, or whatever party they are affiliated with, all must work together to find remedies for the things that are preventing our city from thriving.  

My reason for writing this letter is not to speak about my political platform. That can be viewed on my Facebook Page “John Spanbauer for City Council.” Rather, my purpose is to allow the community to know where I came from and who I am. 

This year’s primary election is Tuesday, June 25. Please mark the date on your calendar and vote. Voting for John Spanbauer will provide this city with a new leader, a new vision, and a new direction. 


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