All Grand Island candidates have been invited to send in a statement regarding their views and qualifications for the office they wish to be elected to. Readers are invited to submit questions for the candidates that will be posted with responses. Scroll down to view all the posted candidates remarks. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Hardwick 4th District Erie County Legislator (R,C,I)
For the past 24 years as a political science professor at Canisius College, Dr. Kevin Hardwick has taught his students about good government. He has also talked about good government on local TV and radio as a respected analyst. As our member of the County Legislature, he has practiced what he preached. He voted to downsize the Legislature and went to court to force the election commissioners to put the issue on the ballot. He was successful, and people voted overwhelmingly in favor of downsizing. This move has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. He has also arranged meetings between town and county officials to foster collaborative efforts. This has led to unprecedented cooperation between the town and the county.
During his time in office, millions in debt have been paid off and the size of county government has been reduced. He also worked to restore funding for the libraries, enacted the Silver Alert program to protect vulnerable elderly members of our community and voted nearly 200 times to stop unnecessary tax increases. That is why our county property taxes have not increased since Kevin Hardwick has been our legislator. He is seeking another term to build on these successes and continue the progress. Erie County is not yet the best county government in America, but we are certainly moving in the right direction. Hardwick’s education and experience have proved valuable in confronting the problems faced by the county. He has a doctorate in political science from Binghamton University. His doctoral dissertation was on county government, and he has written extensively regarding his county government research, including an article on regionalism that was published in National Civic Review.
Bill Conrad Erie County Legislature Candidate
Bill Conrad is seeking the office of Erie County Legislature for District #4. Born into a working class family with deep roots in the Town of Tonawanda, Bill watched his father work nights as a truck dispatcher and his mother work two part time jobs to provide for the family. Upon graduating from Sweet Home High School, he attended SUNY Fredonia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Social Studies Education and was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society. Bill has been teaching at Kenmore West High School for fourteen years, where he has coached wrestling and founded/coached the school's award winning rugby program. He earned his master's degree in social studies education in 2005. Currently, he has the honor of serving as Kenmore West's social studies department chair and a building representative for his fellow teachers. Furthermore, Bill volunteers as an advisor for his district’s literacy cohort committee, library advisory committee, and hiring committee. His course load includes Advanced Placement Microeconomics, Economics and United States History and Government.
Outside of work, Bill is married and is the proud father of two young children. He and his family live in the Town of Tonawanda. As an athlete and coach he was a founding member of the non for profit organization Youth Rugby NY, which operates in Grand Island. This group has participated in active community service by offering free clinics to youth in our community, as well as joining the Kenmore Village improvement society’s call to clean the streets of Kenmore. In 2010, Bill received the Town of Tonawanda’s Youth Board distinguished Joe Allen Jr. Award for community service. Bill currently serves on the board of directors for the not for profit Buffalo Rugby Club, where he has chaired the youth coaching development committee. In addition, Bill has been a member of the Erie County Youth Board. As a member, he and his colleagues have served in an advisory capacity, monitoring funded Erie County youth agencies and recommending allocation of county funds.
Bill is a firm believer that government has a fundamental and active role to play. As a true independent not registered to any party, Bill believes in people not politics. He has accepted the endorsement of the Erie County Democratic Party and Working Families Party as well as various organizations on the basis that he will fight the “status quo”. As an Erie County Legislator his major goals include: 1.Improving county services through goal setting and implementing a benchmark system where we compare our services and taxes to other communities. 2. Making sure that we maintain and rebuild our infrastructure, including roads and bridges. 3 Controlling the growth of taxes by implementing an efficiency model in county services and collaborating with county workers to discover what can be done to improve services while cutting costs. Bill is looking forward to joining the local government in improving the lives of Grand Island citizens. As an educator and a coach, his leadership qualities will challenge the “status quo” and foster collaboration to better the community. Find more information about Bill Conrad at www.campaignconrad.com or on Facebook, “Bill Conrad for Erie County Legislator District #4”
Delilah "Dolly" D'Orazio Town Council Candidate
Delilah, or as many of us know her, Dolly D’Orazio, is announcing her candidacy for Grand Island Town Council. Dolly is registered Democrat endorsed by the Grand Island Democrat Party. Describing her approach to life, Dolly states, “I have lived my life with a couple of simple ideals and rules...Right is right, wrong is wrong and a half-truth is still a lie. I never say anything about you that I wouldn’t say to your face. If I give you my word, I keep it. If I make a mistake, I admit and do what I must to fix it. A lot of you know me from town, church, school or Reality Cafe. I pledge to you that I will bring to the Town government the same dedication and work ethic that I put into every endeavor I tackle.”
Long time Islander of 23 years, she moved here after growing up in Tonawanda. Dolly remembers spending many a summer’s day at Beaver Island and the Clown House; now know as McMahon’s Restaurant. “It has always been a special place for me and my family”, said Dolly. Many people know D’Orazio for her years at Huth Road School and later as Recreation Leader at the Reality Cafe for 14 years, 4 of them as a volunteer. She retired from both the school system and her town job at Reality Cafe in 2009. She continued to sub for the Grand Island Middle & High School. Previously, D’Orazio worked for Pupil Services for the Enfield School system, working in the Resource Room K through 6th as well as, the high school level.
D’Orazio was active through her children’s growing up years, as Hockey Team Mother for both of her children. D’Orazio was heavily involved in the Scouts serving as Charter Daisy Scout Leader, Cub Scout Den Leader, Pack Chairperson, Member of the District Committee on Scouting, Nationally trained and Certified Camp Director, running Day Camps for as many as 100 scouts. D’Orazio was responsible for setting up programs, hiring staff and budgeting. She has served on the Council for Boy Scouts of America, She has served as a parent representative to GIFTS Advisory Board and was instrumental in lobbying for “Gifted Education for Connecticut Schools” while living there in the early years of her marriage. Extremely invested in the Grand Island community, Dolly has served on the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Board for a period of 13 years as a Director and many of its committees: Citizen of the Year, KidBiz, Youth Ambassador, Island Happenings, Business Expo and Light up the Boulevard. She has also serves as a Board Member for ‘Dollars for Scholars’, the National Trained Religious Coordinator handling all religions, Community Enrichment & Referral Committee and Head Usher for Trinity Church.
Awards that hold a special place in her heart, are the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award for ‘Community Service’ 2007, the ‘You Helped Make Highland District what it is today #1’ and a mounted copy of the original Congressional Charter Granted to the Boy Scouts of America (at the time only 5 copies were presented). D’Orazio has been honored by the National Volunteer Training Center at Cimarron, New Mexico and Catholic Church Conference, District Award of Merit. Dolly’s commitment to the Island is unwavering. As she explains, “I love Grand Island, I can not think of another place I would want to live. However, we like other communities are not without concerns. We need to address rising taxes and the cost of services. We need to give more than lip service to the phrase, ‘Open for Business’. Many of our small businesses are not getting the warm and fuzzy feeling of being a valued part of our community. As your Councilwoman, I would like to address those concerns and be a part of the solutions.
JT Tomkins Highway Superintendent
JT Tomkins has combined all of his 40+ years of diverse construction experience with the invaluable addition of being mentored for 6 years by former Highway Superintendent Ray Dlugokinski. “I have nothing but praise for the job he does here,” said former Superintendent Dlugokinski. “He’s a good manager and he knows what needs to be done.”
Prior to the Highway Department JT was employed at Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc. for 18 years. During those years he worked primarily with Sevenson’s road and bridge construction division and in their equipment maintenance shop. In 1988 he went back to night school and studied to become an Information Systems manager and was placed in charge of their computer network system.
Since joining the Highway Department in 2003 one of JT’s main concerns has been to improve communication with the other town departments along with the GI School District, Erie County DPW and NYS-DOT. This allows for better working relationships, which increases efficiency and coordination and in the long run saves GI Taxpayers major money.
Some of his accomplishments while managing the department for the past 7 years are:
• Took over management of the Parks Department with no stipend or increase in salary.
• Hired one of the most knowledgeable Deputy Supts. in NYS - Joe Donlon
• Promoted an aggressive program to update all town snow removal equipment to incorporate salt spreaders and liquid deicing equipment with our snow plows. The objective being to improve snow removal efficiency while using less equipment and lower labor costs.
• Was responsible for the clean-up effort done by private contractors and town crews in the aftermath of the October 2006 ice storm.
• Oversaw the addition of computers and software to better manage the daily work activities and inventories of the department.
• Brought in new equipment to allow our crews to do better quality work and more projects in house. Such as a skid steer with road milling attachment, Mini excavator, 12 ton equipment trailer, insulated asphalt dump box, concrete mixer, hydraulic man lift, laser level, Vacuum truck to clean storm sewers.
• Brought the e-waste disposal drop off site to Grand Island.
• Has a current CDL license and will continue to jump in a plow truck when needed.
JT was born in the Riverside section of Buffalo and moved with his family to Grand Island in 1962. He currently resides on Bishops Gate Rd with his lovely bride and current School Board Trustee Donna Elia Tomkins. They have two sons, Nicholas who recently finished his degree in Business Management at Canisius College and Benjamin a junior at the College of Charleston majoring in Exercise Science. JT is also a second father to Eduardo Toledo, an exchange student from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Edu has lived with the family since 2007 and is finishing his Mechanical Engineering degree at UB this year. Tomkins attended Grand Island Schools from 1st grade until his high school graduation in 1974. After attending Heidelberg College for 1 year he continued taking courses part time at NCCC and Empire State College.
Very active in the community, JT has involved himself in many organizations including:
• Niagara Sailing Club - Past Treasurer and Board member.
• Sidway, Kaegebein, Middle and High School PTA’s.
• Cub Scouts Pack 510 - Den Leader and ran their annual popcorn fundraiser.
• Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper - beach sweeps and annual cleanup of Buckhorn Park walkways.
• Re-Tree WNY – has helped organize and had his hands on every tree planted by Re-Tree on GI since 2007.
• Grand Island Soccer house league coach for 6 seasons, U18 coach for 2.
• GI Little League house and travel baseball coach for 11 seasons. Including 9 years as a board member and league scheduler.
• Current unofficial GIHS sports photographer since 2007.
• Grand Island Relay for Life volunteer for the past 6 years, the last 3 in charge of Logistics.
• GI Chamber of Commerce “Light Up the Boulevard” – organizing committee.
JT is looking forward to continuing the improvements in equipment, efficiency and communication that he has initiated. “I can assure the Taxpayers of Grand Island that I will continue to look after their tax dollars so they can drive on safe highways and still enjoy the same courteous, efficient and affordable service that they deserve”.
Chris Aronica Town Council
Grand Island Town Councilmember Chris Aronica is running for re-election to continue his dedicated civic leadership in the community where he was born and grew up and is raising his family. As a small business owner, Aronica's outlook on the council has emphasized small government and personal and fiscal responsibility. He has served since 2011 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy; he won a special election to the post the following year.
Aronica's approach to town government has won him the endorsements of the Conservative, Republican and Independence parties. "When making decisions important to the residents of Grand Island, I use the same principles I use in my business. I do my research, ask questions and listen, and then follow my convictions when making decisions on issues," says Aronica, president of Aronica & Co. He currently serves on the town audit and the parks and recreation committees and is working with the parks advisory board to develop a five-year master plan.
An entrepreneur, Aronica founded his company in January 2004 to provide comprehensive solutions to investment and property casualty brokers, attorneys, accountants, individuals and corporations. Clients benefit from his foundation in estate planning and elder care, built from years in sales and management in regional insurance agencies, banks and consulting firms and in the real estate industry. It is a point of pride that he shepherded his young company successfully through the economic downturn.
Always community minded, Aronica has a 30-year record of contributions to Grand Island outside of his service on the town council. He is a member of the Grand Island Rotary, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and Grand Island Economic Development Corp. and formerly served on the town Master Plan Commission Advisory Board, the Grand Island Charity Golf Classic and the Grand Island Builders Association Home Show. His civic involvement extends beyond the borders of Grand Island as a member of the Buffalo Sports Commission; the Network in Aging of Western New York; the Society of Certified Senior Advisors; Erie Community College Foundation Board, of which he is past president; ECC Athletic Advisory Board and Perkins Advisory Board; and the Louis J. Billittier Fund Board. Aronica also is past chairman of the ECC Foundation Golf Tournament and the ECC Sporting Clays Corporate Challenge. Among his honors are the ECC Distinguished Alumni Award for 2013, the George E. Killion Award for contributions to ECC’s athletic program in 2004 and 1992 Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.
Aronica earned an associate's degree in business management from ECC in 1982 and went on to Canisius College, where he completed the CEO Entrepreneurial Planning & Management Program two years later. He also graduated from the advanced leadership program of the Steven Covey Leadership Center. He holds several professional certifications in the insurance industry. Married for 24 years, Aronica and his wife Kyle are raising two children, a daughter Michele, 16, and a son, Chris, 14. Both are students of the Grand Island school district, like their father before them. Aronica has taken his service on the council seriously and has been gratified by the dedication of town employees and residents who contribute so much to the operation, life and culture of Grand Island. "It’s been a privilege to serve on the council these last 19 months," Aronica says. "I am respectfully asking town voters to support my candidacy so I can continue to help make our town stronger and more successful than ever."
Bill Stanley Highway Superintendent Candidate
My name is Bill Stanley, and I am running for the position of Highway Superintendent for the Town of Grand Island. I am not only a registered Independent but also the only registered Independent candidate running for the Highway Superintendent position. In addition, I am the only Highway candidate currently endorsed by the Grand Island and Erie County Independence, Democratic, and Working Class Parties.
I have worked for the Grand Island Highway Department for close to 8 years. In that time I have had hands on experience with road milling and paving, ditching projects, snow and ice removal, and branch pick-up projects, just to name a few. The completion of part of the Cornell Local Roads Program has also contributed to my work experience. Furthermore, I have worked in collaboration with other departments to repair water main breaks and sewer systems. I am also currently the town’s most qualified Motor Equipment Operator with a Class A Operator’s license. Neither my knowledge of town equipment and protocol, nor my stellar driving record – whether it is on or off the job – can be disputed, making me uniquely qualified for the position of Highway Superintendent.
Before my time at the Highway Department, I was employed by Lakeside Sod Supply in Clarence, NY. During my time there, I handled sales to regional schools and municipalities, including Grand Island. I learned about various budget structures, and adapted to work within them to suit the needs of my customers. I also have four years of sports field management training from both the Cornell Turf Grass Program and the Scott’s Seed Company, which I feel would be an asset to the Grand Island Highway Department, as it now oversees the Recreation Department as well.
During my 28 years here on Grand Island, I have become deeply involved in our community. I am a current member of the Grand Island Rod and Gun Club, former Grand Island Little League board member, and former board member for Moose Lodge #180. I currently coach a 12U travel softball team, as well as a Miracle League of WNY team.
I pride myself in having a strong work ethic, being extremely proactive, and being an enthusiastic team player. If elected as Highway Superintendent, not only am I willing to be held accountable for my actions, but I also promise to bring these qualities to the job, and to make myself available to the people I serve. Please remember to vote in the Independence Party Primary Election on September 10th and select 11E on the ballot for William Stanley for Highway Superintendent. Also remember me for the General Election on November 5th.
I will bring the Highway Department back to the way it was when Norm Mrkall and Ray Dlugokinski were in office – that includes black roads in winter.
Mark J. Frentzel Grand Island Town Justice
Grand Island Town Justice Mark J. Frentzel is seeking re-election this year. He asks for your vote in the September 10th primary. During his tenure on the bench, Judge Frentzel has exemplified the qualities that make an outstanding judge: Knowledge — Impartiality — Experience.
Knowledge and Experience — Judge Frentzel has been a practicing attorney on Grand Island for over twenty-eight years. In those decades as a practicing attorney, Judge Frentzel has represented thousands of clients from all walks of life: the poor and the wealthy, plaintiffs and defendants, landlords and tenants, employers and employees. Judge Frentzel has appeared in village, town, city, and county courts, New York State Supreme Court, and many courts of the United States. As a former sworn officer of the law, and now as an officer of the court, Judge Frentzel has had the unique experience of seeing all sides of the criminal justice system. This experience and knowledge makes Judge Frentzel the clear choice for Town Justice.
Judge Frentzel’s impartiality is second to none. In Judge Frentzel’s courtroom, everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law, and all sides are afforded the opportunity to state their case. He has drawn support from not only many Grand Island attorneys, like Terry Brennan, Anthony Emmi, Shawn Carey, Pam Detig, John DelMonte, Leah Nuchereno, John Rottaris, William Costello, and Jeri Wright, but is also endorsed by the Erie County Sheriff’s Union. But the majority of Judge Frentzel’s support comes from the people and families he has represented over the years, the friends he has made as well as the people who have appeared in front of him as Town Justice. On Primary Day, Tuesday, September 10th, Judge Frentzel asks for your vote on any of the following lines: Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Independence, and Working Families.
Ray Billica Town Council
Grand Island Residents
I could write a whole article on who I am, the community organizations I’ve been involved with, my awards, and other items that may interest you. But you can get all that information, and more, by going to my website, RayBillica.com, emailing me at Ray@RayBillica.com, or calling me at 864-9055. Instead I’m going to give you some highlights of some of the things I’ve done.
As a Town Board Member I have:
As a Town Board representative on the Special Districts Committee I have:
As the liaison to the Traffic Safety Advisory Board I have:
As the liaison to the Architectural Review Board I have:
Thank you. Ray
Joy (Carrier) LaMarca Town Justice Candidate
Grand Island Resident, Joy (Carrier) LaMarca has announced her candidacy for Grand Island Town Justice. Joy is endorsed by the Democratic, Erie County/Grand Island Independence and Working Families Party and will be participating in the Primary on September 10th for the Republican and Conservative party lines.
Joy is a full time practicing attorney with over ten (10) years experience. She has assisted many clients in selling and/or purchasing properties on the Island. Additionally, she practices in several areas of the law and has represented her clients in the various justice courts throughout Erie and Niagara Counties.
Joy and her husband, Aaron, moved to the Island to be closer to family. “Having family close is important to us. We now live on the street behind my sister and her family with our yards adjoining, so we can participate in each other’s lives and watch our two year old niece grow up,” said Joy.
Joy will be participating in the Primary on September 10th under five (5) lines, that consist of Republican, Democrat, Independence, Working Families and Conservative Parties. You can reach Joy at email@example.com
Beverly Kinney Council Candidate
July 26, 2013 Press Release...Long-time Grand Island resident, Beverly A. Kinney has announced her candidacy for Grand Island Town Council. Beverly is endorsed by the Democratic Party and the Grand Island & Erie County Independence Party. Active in the Grand Island community in many capacities for more than 20 years, Kinney is well known for activities connected with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. She held office for 14 years serving on the executive board as President, 1st. and 2nd. Vice-President & Secretary. She was honored as Citizen of the Year 2012 for her Community Service.
As an original member of the Grand Island Economic Development Advisory Board, Kinney served five years as its Co-chairman and is currently serving as Secretary. She has an excellent understanding of what it takes for healthy economic development and has been a part of the forward progress that the board has had. She was instrumental in developing marketing tools for the Town of Grand Island. She feels the EDAB board has developed into a proactive board with a great vision for the future and is proud to be a part of it. Knowledgeable about zoning, building codes and town development, Kinney served on the Long Range Committee that was charged with updating the Town’s Master Plan. The plan includes many aspects of government that the town council members need to refer to in order to make fair and legal decisions for the citizens of Grand Island.
Working with the Town and the Chamber has given her a very good understanding of the Town’s economics. Tax stability is important to everyone, particularly senior citizens on fixed incomes. Drastically fluctuating tax rates and increased cost of living coupled with unemployment, necessitate people adjust to make ends meet. Government must be expected to do the same. Smart planning and close monitoring of public spending will be one of her priorities.
Non-profit organizations bring many services and vital economic monies to our area. Kinney understands how important they are to our community. They provide services that would cost the taxpayers millions of tax dollars without them. She currently serves on a variety non-profit boards. Currently, she is the secretary & scholarship chair for Grand Island chapter of Dollars for Scholars, a national organization that raises funds for college scholarships. A former committee member of Miracle League, she continues to be involved in their program. She serves as treasurer of The Grand Island Professional Women’s Organization, a group offering working women a unique network in which they can strengthen their individual empowerment. As a member of Variety Club Women, Kinney has raised funds with Carol Ann’s Hair Fashion’s owner, Maria Liaros and staff, contributing ore than $40,000 over the past 17 years.
Kinney is an independent thinker, these are difficult times and it is going to take an independent thinker and results-oriented leadership to find a way out. It is going to take someone capable of stepping outside of party politics and do what is best for the people. As a longtime Island resident, and an active member of the community, she has a stake in our Town’s future and she is committed to preserving the Island quality of life as your Town Councilwoman. “I believe in our community and promise I will bring my independent thinking, fresh ideas and hard-work ethic to town government,” said Kinney.
Kinney is a registered Independence Party member and will be participating in an Independence Party Primary on September 10th She will be the only Council candidate on the September 10 Independence party ballot who is an affiliated Independence candidate. You will also find her on the Democrat line in the General Election November 5th.
• Grand Island Chamber appreciation plaque for ‘Outstanding Leadership’ 2005-2007
• G.I. Professional Women, ORT Inc. Award for Women in Business ‘Effective Leadership’ 2007-2008
• G.I. Chamber of Commerce Special Award for ‘Outstanding Leadership’ 2010.
• G.I. Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of the Year Award for ‘Community Service’ 2012.
• Proclamations & Citations from: Congresswomen Louise Slaughter, Erie County Executive Chris Collins, Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt & The Grand Island Town Board for ‘Outstanding Leadership 2008.
• Proclamations & Citations from: Senator Mark Grisanti, Eire County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick & Assemblyman John D. Ceretto for ‘Community Service’ 2013
You can reach Beverly Kinney at: KinneyforCouncil@gmail.com or www.Facebook/ElectBeverlyKinney