Vincent Cauley: Sticking Up For The People

This article is part of a series highlighting the Black candidates currently running for office in the City of Niagara Falls. This article will focus specifically on Republican candidate for city council Vincent Cauley, who is running for re-election. 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 they are 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.

Vincent Cauley has served on our city council for nearly one year, and in that time he has gained valuable insight into our community and residents’ concerns. Cauley is running for re-election as he was appointed to the city council by the Republican committee after a previous council member retired. Cauley was chosen out of 13 candidates for the position. Professionally, Cauley is a skilled engineer who is forced to work outside of our city due to the current lack of local workforce.

Vincent Cauley

Says Cauley, “I’m for the people, I’m for the city. The only reason I’m running for City Council is to help my city become a better city. Not everybody has that same motivation.”

One thing that really bothers Cauley is the garbage user fee. He says, “I want to end the garbage fee. We’ve got seniors on fixed income already. We’re not getting the services that we’re paying for. We should be able to get new garbage cans. We’re already paying taxes and paying for these services. Why are we double dipping with this garbage fee? It’s totally unacceptable.”

This statement pairs up with another of Cauley’s goals, which is “Taking care of our youth and seniors. For our youth we should be looking into and successfully building, managing and programming community centers and recreation centers. We should be trying to reduce income for seniors and give them breaks. We need to give them services they need by increasing public safety and by decreasing the blight.”

He adds, “We pay more for water and electricity than anyone else and it doesn’t make any sense.”

Cauley has been very vocal when it comes to calling out the actions of Mayor Restaino and other council members. He has stood strong as an advocate for the public, even if it means making unpopular decisions. 

One of his biggest pet peeves, says Cauley, is “Unnecessary, wasteful and unaccountable spending. We’re spending money. Where is it going? Why is it going there? Is it being effective? Who is spending it and who is getting it? Why aren’t they answering these questions?”

Cauley has tried repeatedly to obtain information which should be public regarding the Mayor’s proposed Centennial Park project. That information includes how much is being spent and where the money will be coming from. Recently, investigative journalist for the Niagara Gazette Mark Scheer also attempted to retrieve that information via Freedom of Information Act requests. Scheer’s requests were denied by HUD by order of Restaino’s administration.

This has distressed Cauley, who says “I’m for the people but maybe there are other agendas. Maybe there’s something else in mind. I’ve asked questions regarding Centennial Park and the Digital Campus. I get blocked by other council members who don’t want to ask those questions. My question is: Is there something shady going on and are there deals being made behind our backs and behind the scenes? We have to ask those questions.”

Cauley wants to know “How can we vote on something without first knowing the budget? They don’t want to be transparent. We can’t even meet with our own department heads without the mayor or the city administrator being there. That’s the mayor’s rule. I’ve been trying to get a ride along with our own police department since December and I still haven’t gotten one yet.”

Regarding transparency, Cauley has recently come under fire for voting down a “gun buyback” program. He isn’t afraid to approach the subject, saying “The mayor has said that I’ve voted against free money. That was a state grant that was supposed to be given through a contractor for a gun buyback program, for ‘gun violence.’ But it was just for the mayor to say we did something good, we got money. But we didn’t have any transparency, we didn’t know where the money was going or how much was going there, there was no accountability. Is this program even effective? We’ve had it for ten years now and I still hear gunshots and firefights. The money isn’t being spent effectively and we have to seriously look at this.”

Cauley is aware that “It is an epic and transformational time in history to have a Black majority delegation of city officials; the mayor and the majority of the council.” He sees the opportunity and, having served on city council already, he knows why this opportunity is important. 

Cauley continues, “We can finally have a group of historically silenced individuals, including Black individuals, to have their voices heard. To have their voices involved with how the city is run and how the money is being used. To make sure that the money gets to the city and it doesn’t go to the Good Ol’ Boys Club.”

He says, “I see the difference in treatment. I know racism still exists, no question about it. I’m not delusional in that sense and I hear stories and rumors. From the treatment, I can see that Restaino’s actions are for his own personal gain but not really sincere about helping the Black community. What I’ve seen the past few years is that the Black community has been neglected by this administration. Black people need to show up to the ballot.”

With his technical background, Vincent Cauley is educated and determined to create jobs in our city. He says, “The number one issue with our city revolves around the finances. The money coming in and the money going out, period. We will solve the money coming in by getting businesses coming in. That’s the city’s income. We should be decreasing taxes while increasing income by inviting businesses in, attracting jobs and employers. Then how are we spending the money that we do get? We need to have regular town hall meetings so everyone knows the issues, why we are voting on them and how they effect the people in every way possible. We should be answering all of the people’s questions on every agenda item.”

Lastly, Cauley expresses his sentiments about being a public servant, stating “There’s two kinds of people who run for office. People who want power and people who want change.”

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