NORTH TONAWANDA – Two people have announced their candidacy for open seats on the North Tonawanda Common Council, and one incumbent has announced his bid for re-election.
Donna Braun, of Lincoln Avenue, will run for a two-year term as Second Ward alderman to succeed Second Ward alderman and Council President Richard Andres, who is stepping down to run for the Niagara County Legislature.
Robert Clark, of Porter Avenue, will run for a four-year at-large seat to succeed incumbent Nancy Donovan, who is retiring after serving on the Council and previously on the School Board.
Longtime First Ward Alderman Phillip “Russ” Rizzo will seek another two-year term on the Council.
Braun, a North Tonawanda resident for the last 20 years, currently serves on the School Board and the board’s Audit and Shared Services committees. She is a longtime member of the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame, serving on its board of directors and as treasurer. She is president of the Third Ward Social Club’s Ladies Auxiliary.
Braun works as a support staff supervisor for MedRecovery Management/HMS. She and her husband, Ken, have three children.
“I love the City of North Tonawanda and want to give back to the community that has been so good to me and my family,” Braun wrote in announcing her candidacy.
“I enjoy my work on the School Board, but I believe I can make a bigger impact for the residents of North Tonawanda on the City Council.”
She said she is interested in the revitalization of Oliver Street, safer neighborhoods and fiscal responsibility.
“I am excited by the new development in the Webster Street area,” Braun said, “and want to make expanding those efforts to Oliver Street a goal if I am elected.”
Clark , a lifelong resident of the city and a 1963 graduate of North Tonawanda High School, served 40 years in the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force as an active duty hospital corpsman, Navy reservist and Air National Guard medic.
He is a decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Iraq wars, earning a Bronze Star with “V” device for combat valor and a Purple Heart. In civilian life, he worked in computer programming in the insurance, financial and energy industries.
Clark is chairman of the North Tonawanda Taxpayers’ Advisory Committee, vice president of the board of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor and a member of the North Tonawanda Historic Preservation Commission. Clark and his wife, Sue, have two children.
Clark said he has a special interest in the revitalization of the city’s economy and use of the waterfront resources, “I believe in North Tonawanda. I grew up here during the 1950s and experienced North Tonawanda at its best. Our city has great potential, and I want to be part of its revitalization,” he said. “I am particularly interested in out waterfront development. Our waterfront resources are unmatched throughout New York and can be a catalyst to economic and recreational growth.”
Rizzo, a First Ward alderman for the last 10 years, previously served for two years as a Niagara County legislator.
He said he worked with State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, to gain state and county funding for a project to put an end to flooding that residents of Witmer Road had to endure for years. He said he also worked alongside Mayor Robert G. Ortt to stabilize and lower taxes, with city taxes remaining the same in 2012 and lowered in 2013.
He said he also was proud of helping to return free concerts to North Tonawanda in Gratwick Riverside Park, which hosted two free concerts in 2012 and will host three concerts this summer.
Another promise he made was to transform the long dormant city marina into a thriving summer destination. He said this summer the owner of Templeton Landing, a City of Buffalo waterfront restaurant, will open a new riverside dining establishment at the marina, along with new docking facilities.
“One only has to look around the city to see the revitalization that North Tonawanda is going through. The new Super Walmart, built with no tax incentives whatsoever, is pumping thousands of dollars of sales tax revenue into the city and county. The downtown district is thriving with three new restaurants opening this past year, along with loft apartments and commercial investments,” Rizzo said in his announcement.
He said he is pleased with the progress the city and the First Ward has made and is eager to continue to move the city forward.