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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Roger Sherrie is kicking off his campaign for mayor of Lockport by indicating that WLVL (Lockport radio) is not offering “fair and equal coverage for all candidates” because Mayor McCaffrey has a weekly show on WLVL and, well, Mr. Sherrie doesn’t. In my opinion, Mr. Sherrie’s attempt to cut the mayor off from the people she works for is not going to win him a lot of votes.

Instead of sending a letter to the radio station about unfair coverage, I think most people in Lockport would have preferred if he told us how he was going to fix the potholes. We would also be interested in how he plans on repairing our budget issues and cutting down on crime. But instead of doing that, he is writing letters to radio stations and demanding to speak. Those days are long, long gone.

This recent event highlights something that I have been saying for a long time – Lockport politicians simply do not understand the Internet. Here is what Mr. Sherrie should have done instead of wasting time complaining to radio stations. He should have started his own campaign website (you can get a website for free that looks pro), filled that website with his campaign platform, created a Twitter account, created a Facebook account, and then sent press releases about all of that information to all of the local media outlets. He may even want to hire someone who understands the Internet to do these things for him because, I can guarantee, the results would be worth it.

In reality, I can kind of understand what Mr. Sherrie is complaining about. According to a Nielsen survey, nearly 90 percent of all age groups still listen to at least two and a half hours of radio every day. That makes radio pretty popular with everyone, even in Lockport. But for each person who listens to WLVL every day, there are many more who read the Internet. Between ENP and the Union Sun, Lockport residents are accessing online content every day and for hours. The best part is that Lockport people are interacting with the Union Sun and ENP online and it gives the people a voice.

All you have to do is spend just a little time on Facebook to know that a big chunk of the voting population in Lockport is online talking about stuff. Why aren’t any of these candidates members of these Lockport discussion groups on Facebook? I mean, that is a direct pipeline to thousands of people who will be voting in November and not one candidate is taking advantage of it. You can be a member of these groups and never post, if that is what you choose, but you can watch and see what people are concerned about.

Why aren’t any of the candidates for mayor of Lockport doing anything online? According to, the median age of Lockport residents is 38.1 years old. Wikipedia (not the most reliable resource, but it is quoting reliable information) said that, as of the 2010 census, 63.8 percent of the city of Lockport is under the age of 45. While radio is still popular here in Lockport, and everywhere else, it should not be the centerpiece of a mayoral campaign. Those days are also long gone.

Mr. Sherrie appears to be a very qualified individual who has many of the skills necessary to help our city get out of its funk. How do I know that? I read it online. I didn’t hear it on the radio and I never would have heard that on the radio. The problem with many of these candidates is that they are still living in the era when newspapers and radio were the primary sources of information in Lockport. That era is gone and these candidates need to start getting with the times.

Barack Obama utilized social media to his advantage in both of his presidential campaigns and we all know how those turned out. Both of Obama’s opponents were from an older generation that did not understand how to properly utilize the Internet. Since over 60 percent of the population of Lockport is under the age of 45, it would be in every candidate’s best interest to learn how to use the Internet to help get themselves elected. I am not saying that they should only be using the Internet, but they certainly should not be ignoring it either.

The point is that the Lockport population is online every day and conversing about current Lockport events. Roger Sherrie, Mike Pillot, and Anne McCaffrey should be online getting involved in discussions and reaching thousands of Lockport residents to advance their candidacies. But they are not, which is a shame.

The new generation is taking over, even in Lockport, and politicians simply must get with the times. I want to know how these politicians will fix the potholes. I want to know what they are going to do about crime. It would take them five minutes to start a Facebook account and post that information for everyone to read but, instead, the candidates are nowhere to be found.

I understand that the Internet is filled with mean-spirited people because I deal with them everyday. But these are still the people who will be voting in November and a politician needs to have thick skin if they are going to get the job done. Nothing thickens the skin like a few bouts on Facebook with some of the people I see on there every day.

The people of Lockport are on the Internet. If you want to talk to us, we are more than willing to listen and more than willing to tell you what we think. I even run a Lockport, NY page on Facebook that is made up of only people who are either from Lockport, or live here now. That would be a direct audience to interact with. But if you want to talk to us, you have to go where we are and we are online. Where are you?

+George N Root III (Twitter: @georgenroot3) is a Lockport resident and avid Facebook user. You can contact him at, but don’t get bummed if he doesn’t answer.

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