There is only one contested race in next month’s village elections in Niagara County.
Two candidates are vying for one seat on the Wilson Village Board, while Middleport’s two incumbents and Barker’s two newcomers face no opposition in the March 18 races.
The filing deadline for candidates’ petitions was Tuesday.
In Wilson, while both men are registered Republicans. James Madan is backed by the Republican and Democratic parties, and Gary Darnell is the Conservative Party’s choice for a four-year term on the board.
Madan was appointed by Mayor Bernard Leiker last year to fill the remaining year of Leiker’s board term. The winner will join the Democratic mayor and Republican Gerald “Jerry” Kadryna on the three-person board.
Madan, 41, is a White Plains native who has lived in the village for several years. This is the first run for office for the independent equities and options trader.
“I feel there are impending budget issues, and small communities everywhere are being squeezed,” he said. “I want to have a say in the choices being made. From small corporations to small municipalities, everyone is having trouble. I also love public policy – I’m naturally curious and a voracious reader.”
Darnell, 52, is a 34-year member of the New York Army National Guard and has served the Wilson No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company for more than three decades. This is also his first run for office.
“I have some concerns as the village moves forward,” he said. “We need to bring businesses back, we need to actively search to fill the void made when Pfeiffer Foods moved out, while still maintaining what we have as far as infrastructure. We have to prioritize our needs and engage the Town Board and School Board, and work together to lessen the burden on the taxpayers.”
In Barker, newcomers Janice M. Rider, running on the Transparency in Government Party line, and Kimberly A. Ruffini, representing the Lily Party, seek two-year terms as trustees.
The two seats became available when Trustee Patricia Fuller announced that she was not seeking re-election, and Scott Matheis recently resigned from his trustee position due to a conflict of interest when he became the new fire chief. Rider was appointed to fill the remaining seven weeks of Matheis’ term at Monday’s board meeting.
A Florida native, Ruffini, 43, is a waitress who said her family moved to the area to be closer to family and, specifically, to Barker for the schools. This is her first time running for political office.
She has two young children and a son in the Navy.
“I wanted to get involved with my village,” she said. “I’m excited to do it.”
Rider, 48, works for the Niagara County Social Services Department.
Rider, who is also a political neophyte, said, “I’m a volunteer with the Barker Fire Department and have lived in Barker since 1995. I wanted to get involved with my community.”
Middleport Trustees Thomas Conley, representing the People Choice Party, and Dennis McAvoy, backed by the Positive Action Party, seek re-election to their seats. The trustees serve two-year terms.
Conley has served on the board since 2000, while Mayor Richard Westcott appointed McAvoy to fill the remainder of his trustee term when he became mayor in March 2011. McAvoy then successfully ran for a full, two-year term in 2012.
Conley, 48, is an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
McAvoy, 67, retired from the village’s wastewater treatment plant in 2001 and currently serves as Niagara County’s deputy coordinator for fire investigations.
Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. March 18. The Village of Youngstown holds its elections in May, and Lewiston residents go to the polls in June.