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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I am not a political expert. So if you want to debate politics with me, I will politely decline. But there are certain features our next mayor needs to have if we are going to dig ourselves out of this huge pothole we are in. Like I said, I am not up for an existential political debate, but I am more than willing to talk about the candidates that you think may have these qualities. In my opinion, we need to start looking now if we are going to find the person who is going to get us out of the pickle we are in, because November is not that far away.

I used to think that I wanted our next mayor to be from a certain age group, but now I realize that age is not important. What I want is someone who is not stuck in the 1960s. One of the best ways to show that you are a progressive thinker is to get on the Internet and talk to the people. I have seen plenty of people declaring their candidacy for mayor, but I have not seen a single one of them do anything on the Internet yet. I want someone who understands that the Lockport glory days of the 1960s are over and we need contemporary solutions to contemporary problems.

I want a mayor who is creative and willing to take a few chances that are for the city’s best interests. I think I have had enough of mayors who are only interested in their own selfish agendas. Actually, I have had enough of an entire city government made up of people with their own agendas. I want to see a mayor who is proactive instead of reactive with some real solutions to our real problems. How about a mayor who takes road maintenance seriously and helps to avoid the pothole plague we face today? We never used to have this problem, so I know it can be avoided in the future with good planning.

I want a mayor who was born in Lockport and genuinely cares about Lockport. I don’t want a mayor who is interested in using their position to help their family and friends get plowed out during the winter while many of the side streets are still impassable. I want someone in the mayor’s office who cares as much about the future of Lockport as I do and I want a mayor who is not afraid to tell everyone who will listen how proud they are to be from Lockport.

I want a mayor who will make everyone proud to be from Lockport again. With all of the problems we have had lately, our public image has taken a beating. It isn’t that I care what others think of Lockport. That has never really been the issue. The issue is that with the rise in crime and the obvious lack of cohesiveness in City Hall, it is frustrating to hear Lockport’s name trampled like it has been lately. I want a mayor with a strong will who will stand out in front of the city and fight crime, fix our streets, and start to make people think twice about Lockport again.

I want a mayor who realizes that giving millions in tax breaks to large corporations is not how Lockport is going to grow. I understand that there has to be something to fill in the void being left behind by Harrison’s, but do we have to mortgage our children’s future to get it? Lockport used to be the place people wanted to live because it offered a lifestyle similar to Williamsville or Amherst, but at a fraction of the cost. The new mayor needs to realize that Lockport is not an industrial place anymore.

We should be the place where people who work in Western New York’s industries buy their homes and raise their families because it is a great place to live and it is inexpensive to live here. But the way things are now, convincing people to come and live in Lockport is almost impossible. We need to get our city under control and get back to selling homes to families that can help make Lockport a better place.

I want a mayor who does not hide out at City Hall and make it difficult to find them. When I was a kid, I saw the mayor everywhere around the city. I saw the mayor in parades, at functions, at the store, at the park, and even walking down the street on their way to wherever they were going. I never see the mayor out and about in Lockport anymore. I haven’t run into a mayor of Lockport out in the city of Lockport in over 12 years. I want a mayor who won’t hide from us and, instead, will show us that they live and work here too.

Will I get the mayor I want? It is hard to say. Like I said, so far no candidate has made themselves accessible on the Internet and I consider that a huge strike against them all. I just want what is best for the city and I think everyone else does too.

We get to vote for an almost entirely new City Hall this year. We need to educate ourselves on who the candidates are and get ready to vote. Maybe we won’t find the perfect mayor to help get our city back on its feet, but I would certainly like to find one I can be proud of.

+George N Root III  is a Lockport resident and not a political pundit. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him an email at If you have all of the qualities he is looking for in a mayor, then get on the Internet and show yourself!

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