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School Board Election
Tuesday, May 21st


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Democratic Committee Webpage

Chairman: James Sharpe
3138 East River Rd. - Phone & Text 716 553-1100

Mission: Help democratic candidates get elected.
Club's Purpose:
Raise money for the Democratic candidates for the Town of Grand Island.
We are always looking for new members to help campaigns.

Democratic Committee Endorses Town Council Candidates - October 2021


John Mikkelson & Rich D’Agostino

    It’s fair to say that there is no other town in Erie County like Grand Island. It is the only municipality that is also an island, and that distinction cuts both ways: We have a unique natural environment of unlimited beauty, but also natural resources and living spaces that are uniquely limited. And so on Tuesday, Nov. 2, the people of Grand Island must make a decision about which candidates are best qualified to act as guardians of our past and present while guiding us wisely into the future.
    We have watched with concern over the past two years as a Republican Town Board has stalled the progress made under the previous administration, making wrong-headed choices about commercial developments that threaten to diminish the quality-of-life Islanders cherish and have preserved for generations. It is no secret that the public’s voice doesn’t speak as loudly as developers' pocketbooks do, and with the people and taxpayers taking a back seat to other concerns, the word “progress” may take on a very different meaning. At every step, the people who foot the bill must be a part of the process, and projects must be undertaken only as the result of careful planning and in the best interests of 20,000 Islanders.
    Under Democrats, town government sought grants that allowed us to invest in fundamental infrastructure, such as sidewalks along Grand Island Boulevard, while taking into consideration that homeowners and businesses don’t have bottomless wallets. This did not happen by accident; elected and appointed officials worked hard to find innovative approaches to funding and solutions to long-standing problems. Today, we see the results, from a nature trail on the West River, to a new hotel just off the I-90, an elevator in town hall, sidewalks along Grand Island Blvd/Baseline Rd., and the continuation of the development of the Scenic Woods trail, just to name a few. All improving the quality of life here on Grand Island.
    If you are happy with the status quo, with a town government that doesn’t talk to or trust the people, you know how to vote. But if you want an open, transparent town hall, where you may speak and actually be heard, then your choices are equally clear: Rich D’Agostino and John Mikkelson for Town Board. And if you want a comprehensive master plan for future growth that reflects your concerns and priorities, vote for Rich and John. They are committed to growing our community in a way that is sustainable for this era and the next. Both understand that sitting on the town board is a privilege and a matter of public service, not an entitlement or a means of rewarding the few and the favored. All across this region and nation, the health of our democracy is being questioned. Fighting for that democracy is up to each and every one of us, and it begins right here at home.

John Mikkelson for Grand Island Town Council - October 2021

    What kind of community will Grand Island be in four years, or 40? That’s the question I’ve been asking since I announced my campaign for town council earlier this year, and it’s the question every voter and taxpayer should be asking when they head to the polls.
    Make no mistake: This is a great place to live, with strong neighborhoods and the unique beauty of an island community. As a father, I’m proud to be raising my children here. And thanks to prudent past investment, Grand Island is positioned to enjoy growth that encourages progress while maintaining the quality of life we enjoy and have come to expect. But under the current Republican Town Board, the leadership that brought us here has given way to a pay-to-play approach that may radically change the character of our town. When a town board essentially ignores the Zoning Board in favor of the highest bidder - and, by doing so, dismantles the safeguards that have helped make Grand Island special - the result may be a future none of us want.
    I also believe a large part of the problem is the failure of town officials to educate residents on all the details of proposed projects. Too often, developments simply appear on agendas with little or no advance warning, at a stage where citizen input will have little or no effect. As your town council member, I will ensure that every potential deal will be fully debated, out in the open and in the full sunlight of disclosure, before any final decisions are made. And I will also advocate for a provision requiring that long-standing projects must be subject to a new round of review and approvals if they have not moved forward by a reasonable deadline. In some cases, a half decade will elapse after initial discussion with no further action taken; after that much time, circumstances may change. It is only common sense to revisit those decisions to determine if they still are in the best interests of the people and taxpayers.
    The blueprint for a better tomorrow must be a comprehensive master plan, one established in partnership with every stakeholder, and that will be a top priority of mine on Day 1. As a business professional who is also proud to be endorsed by the Sierra Club, I do not believe there is an inherent conflict between promoting development and preserving our natural environment, between embracing the future and protecting what’s best about the past. But it takes vision and determination to strike that balance. I pledge to bring both to the table.
    My family and I had other options, but we chose to make Grand Island our home. I can still recall our first weekend here, which coincided with July 4th celebrations. The tight-knit nature of this community, and its warm and welcoming spirit, were obvious right from the start. In that same spirit, we can unite to make sure that four years from now, and for generations to come, Grand Island will always live up to its name.

Rich D’Agostino for Grand Island Town Council - October 2021

    It’s election season, and soon political signs will appear in front of hundreds of homes here in Grand Island. Chances are you’ll see a few bumper stickers, too. Up until Tuesday, Nov. 2, we’ll be defining ourselves by party and which campaign we support. On Nov. 3, we’ll be expected to act as citizens again in support not of candidates, but of the Grand Island we share and love.
    In my bid for Grand Island Town Board, I’ve sought to focus on the issues where we can find common ground, on the things that unite us. I believe they far outnumber those that divides us. It has already been my privilege to represent my neighbors and fellow taxpayers as a member of the Grand Island Board of Education. And despite whatever disagreements might have arisen there, our goals were the same: To provide the best possible education for our children. So I know that regardless of how we vote, we all want to live in a town we can be proud of. A town where our police have the best training, the right management, and the support they need to carry out their mission of keeping our families and neighborhoods safe. A town board where politics takes a back seat to the interests of the people – something that sadly isn’t the case right now – where tax dollars are never carelessly spent, and where we aren’t afraid to make the right investments.
    A Grand Island where we don’t mistake motion for progress, where developers get the go-ahead because it’s right, not because the price is right. A place where residents, businesses, and the environment coexist and benefit from one another. And a community where we make high-speed internet and other modern infrastructure available to every resident.
    In a hyper-partisan era, we often forget that government exists to serve everyone, not merely those who happen to be in power. Whether as a school board member, special education teacher, or chair of the Buffalo Board of Education’s Committee on Special Education, I have always put a premium on serving others and solving problems. Cronyism, insider deals, and intrigue may have their short-term benefits for the people involved, but they do nothing for those outside the political circles – in other words, the hard-working families who foot the bill and have to live with the consequences of the decisions made at town hall.
    There is no body closer to the people than town council, and accordingly it should be the most accessible level of government at all times. If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I commit to being your partner and voice on the town board, and to listen to you, always. The first sight most people have of Grand Island are the bridges that connect us to Niagara Falls to the north and the rest of Erie County to the south. Building those bridges made it possible for Grand Island to prosper and grow. And building new bridges, between one another and across political lines, will be the key to the future as well.

Welcome, Fall! To-Go BBQ - September 2020

    The Grand Island Democratic Party is hosting "Welcome, Fall! To-Go BBQ" on Wednesday, September 23rd from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus. Reservations and menu details here.

Democratic Candidates Fundraiser - October 2019

   The Grand Island Democratic Committee is hosting "Autumn Splash", a fundraiser for Democratic candidates on Friday, October 11th, at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30p.m., and tickets are $25. Sponsorships are also available. See flyer for more details.

Additional Grand Island Democratic Committee Endorsement - March 2019

Robert "Bob" Mesmer, Candidate for Town Justice.

   The Grand Island Democratic Party is proud to announce Robert Mesmer for Town Justice. Bob has resided on Grand Island for 68 years and has served 14 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Bob has been very involved in the community.
   The Democratic Party held a Meet & Greet at the WNY Welcome Center on Sunday, March 10th. Forrest Crawford snapped an adorable picture of his nine-month-old son Greyson with Town Supervisor Candidate James Sharpe at the event.

James Sharpe with Greyson Crawford.

Grand Island Democratic Committee Endorsements - March 2019

From left: George Hauss, Beverly Kinney, Jenn Pusatier & James Sharp.

   Grand Island Democratic Party is pleased to announce the following candidates for the upcoming November election. Deputy Supervisor James Sharpe for Supervisor; Jenn Pusatier for Town Council; incumbent Councilwoman Beverly Kinney for Town Council, Robert Mesmer for Town Justice and George Hauss for Town Clerk. The candidates invite the public to the Welcome Center for a “Meet the Candidates” afternoon coffee. Sunday, March 10th, 10am - 2pm.

Democratic Committee Seeks Candidates - January 2019

    The Grand Island Democratic Party is seeking candidates to fill town positions of Supervisor, Town Council (2), Town Clerk, and Town Justice for this fall. Individuals interested in running on behalf of the Grand Island Democratic Party are asked to send a cover letter and resume to GI Dems, 2571 West River Rd, Grand Island, NY 14072. Letters must be received by February 5, 2019. The GI Democratic Committee will be holding interviews for candidates seeking endorsement after Feb 5th.

Democratic Committee Endorsements - May 2017

    The Democratic Committee has announced endorsements of Cyndy Montana and Celia Spacone for Grand Island Town Council, Dan Drexelius for highway superintendent and Eric Soehnlein for town justice.

Coffee with the Democratic Candidates - October 2015

    FREE Donuts & Coffee For Seniors, hosted by candidates; Judge Sybil Kennedy (Town Justice), Nathan McMurray (Supervisor), Beverly Kinney & Cyndy Montana (Council) and Nancy Samrany (Former Town Clerk) - Thursday, Oct 29th from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. at Town Cafe, 2352 Grand Island Blvd.

Grand Island Democratic Committee Endorsements - May 2015

From left: Beverly Kinney, Sybil Kennedy, Cyndy Montana & Nathan McMurray

   Press Release...As chairman, Jim Sharpe credits the Democrat Committee with an impressive slate of candidates. "I am honored that we have candidates with the caliber of Nathan McMurray for Town Supervisor. He is an experienced and accomplished attorney who is world traveled. He has chosen, as we have, to raise his family here on Grand Island and feels we can do better. We believe Nathan, as Town Supervisor, has what it takes to make a good community a great community.
   Our Town Council candidates, Beverly Kinney and Cyndy Montana, are both excited and enthusiastic about bringing their talents and commitment to making Grand Island a better place to live, work & play. Beverly Kinney has been involved in every facet of Grand Island, from working with the Chamber of Commerce, the Town's Economic Development Advisory Board, the Women's Professional Business Organization, along with many of the community charities and events through more than two decades. She has spent the majority of her life here on Grand Island and her love and commitment to the community is clear to anyone who has worked with her.
   Fresh eyes and new ideas are the qualities Cyndy Montana brings to the table. She is the mother of two children with a husband who was born and raised on Grand Island. She is involved with her children's PTA and actively participates with all of their events. Cyndy extends her time and efforts to a variety of community events and organizations. A successful businesswoman, she will bring sound judgement to the position.
   The committee and I are extremely proud to endorse Judge Sybil Kennedy, a seasoned judge, for the Grand Island Town Justice. Judge Kennedy had worked as chief clerk for Judge Pritchard for many years and has served as Town Justice for the past 16 years. She has brought a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to our town court. Judge Kennedy is a well-recognized and respected judge with the county.
   This group of candidates will bring transparency, creativity and integrity to our government that will replace the indecisiveness, duplicity and dysfunction that we currently endure." For more information on getting involved contact, Jim Sharpe at jsharpe3138@me.com or 553-1100.

Grand Island Democratic Committee Meet & Greet - August 2013

   The Grand Island Democratic Committee is sponsoring a Candidates Meet & Greet on Friday, September 6th from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club, 1083 Whitehaven Road. Donation $25.00, for more information call Jim Sharpe at 716-553-1100.

Grand Island Democratic Committee Endorsements - June 2013

From left: Joy (Carrier) LaMarca, William Stanley, Sarah Tollner, Beverly Kinney

   The Grand Island Democratic Committee has endorsed Beverly Kinney and Sarah Tollner as their candidates for Town Council. The committee has also endorsed Joy (Carrier) LaMarca for Town Justice and William Stanley for Town Highway Superintendent. The Committee will be holding a fundraiser on June 14th at the VFW Post from 6-9pm and the community is invited. For further information contact Jim Sharpe at 553-1100 or jsharpe3138@me.com.

Democratic Committee Seeks Candidates for November 2013 Election - March 2013

    The Grand Island Democratic committee is seeking candidates for the following Town of Grand Island offices: Town Council (two seats), Town Justice and Superintendent of Highways. Residents seeking the Island Democratic Party endorsement should submit a written request and any supporting material to the Grand Island Democratic Committee, c/o Chairman Jim Sharpe, 3138 E River Road, Grand Island, NY 14072. Letters are to be received by Friday, April 5, 2013. For information or questions, contact Jim Sharpe at 773-2279 or 553-1100.