Uniquia Lewis: Fairness, Equality And Transparency

This article is part of a series highlighting the Black candidates currently running for office in the City of Niagara Falls, focusing specifically on candidate for city council Uniquia Lewis. In this series we will examine the Black candidates and judge them not by the color of their skin, but by their own words, thoughts, ideas and platforms.

A potentially historic moment is hanging in the balance for Niagara Falls politics. Two candidates for mayor, Republican frontrunner Carl Cain and underdog activist/entrepreneur Demetreus Nix (WAWG) are both challenging incumbent Mayor Robert Restaino. Both challengers are Black men with almost polar opposite backgrounds, and both outspoken about the current state of our city. 

Additionally, four candidates for Niagara Falls City Council are also Black. For the first time in the history of our city, voters have an opportunity to elect a Black mayor with a majority Black council.

Uniquia Lewis (WAWG) is certainly unique in that she is the only Black female running for city council. Her insights provide a voice for a demographic that is not currently represented on city council.

Demetreus Nix and Uniquia Lewis

Upon winning, Lewis plans to give the power back to the people. “Transparency is key,” says Lewis. “I love transparency. It’s important because it gives everybody the opportunity to make a sound decision. If there are hidden agendas or deals being made nobody knows about, it effects your decisions because you don’t know what you’re supporting.”

Lewis proudly states, “I AM the People, and I AM for the People.” This should be a very provocative statement for voters to consider on November 7th. City council is designed to represent the people but unfortunately, politics has gotten in the way.

One aspect of the current state of affairs which has caused an emotional uproar from the public is Mayor Restaino’s abuse of special meetings, which effectively ban the public from providing input on his agendas.

Of this, Lewis says “I was never a fan of special meetings. I was attending council meetings way before I was into politics or ever thinking I might run. I just wanted to know what was going on locally. The special meetings and Centennial Park… there’s a lot of things that I feel are happening for favors.”

Uniquia Lewis at the Oct. 25 Niagara Falls Mayoral Candidate Debate

Uniquia Lewis has noticed that public input is key to running a successful city. She says, “To see exactly what the people need and what they want, and how we can make it better for them. I feel that people coming to Niagara Falls have an advantage over people who are already living here. I’m not sure why that is but I believe we need to focus on the people who live here first.”

To elaborate, Lewis stated “Home ownership is important. If it’s yours, you’re more liable to take care of it and make it look nice. I’ve seen people who just arrived flourish more than some people who have been here. How do they obtain the information that allowed them to do that? We need to give that information to locals.”

Lewis is also unique because she was chosen by a group of community members from different organizations to run as their selected candidate. Instead of shying away from the challenge, she rose to the occasion. “They made the decision for me,” she says. For Lewis, it isn’t about her ego at all. It’s about representing a community that needs a voice on city council.

As a spa owner, Lewis believes in a holistic approach to healing. As a council member, she plans on helping our city heal by listening to resident concerns and acting appropriately… which is exactly what our city council should be doing.

Another of Uniquia’s focuses is mental health and drug addiction programs. She also says, “I would love to see more police involvement with different things we have going on so they can become more familiar with our people and our culture.”

Says Uniquia, “I am a Niagara Falls Native. I am a Black woman and a hard working single mother. I was born of the chaos in this city and raised here seeing many different struggles. I have been vocal to create a better community for our children. My own son had a difficult time here and had to leave me to find a better educational environment and better living, which left me being more vocal about the social, political and economic struggles we face in Niagara Falls.”

Lewis has been working with the WAWG party to make grassroots changes in our community.

She says, “I represent the struggling working class in my city. I see people working full-time, earning borderline income, who still don’t bring home enough money to pay their bills. I have seen people looking for gigs after working full time tiring jobs. I represent the community whose sons and daughters are struggling in schools because the quality education is absent in our neighborhoods. I have seen our Black neighborhoods excluded when it came to rebuilding streets, sidewalks and homes.”

Uniquia is a ray of light and a beam of positivity during these dark times. She believes in positive energy and uplifting community members. Says Lewis, “I believe that we will only become better when all of us come together. We are all equal and should be treated as such. We deserve to live a quality life like everyone else! I am running for City Council to make sure our city serves everyone indiscriminately including the underserved people of Niagara Falls.”

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