County Democrats announce endorsements

Rick Pfeiffer, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—The Niagara County Democratic Committee has announced its endorsed candidates in races across the region in 2021.

Democrats, who are a minority in the Niagara County Legislature, will field only 10 candidates for the 15 seats in the lawmaking body. They will also be looking to replace their long-time leader in the legislature, 15-term Legislator Dennis Virtuoso.

The Democrats have endorsed current Falls City Council Member William Kennedy for Virtuoso's seat. They also endorsed incumbent legislators Mark Grozio in District 3, Owen Steed in District 4, Christopher Robins in District 5 and Anita Mullane in District 13.

The committee is backing Joseph Conti in District 1, Jamie Symmonds in District 2, Daryl Bodewes in District 7, and Joseph Kissel in District 9.

The Dems have given their endorsement to lawyer Michael Benedict in his second run for a seat on the Niagara County Court bench. While current Falls Corporation Counsel Christopher Mazur was the choice to succeed retiring Chief Falls City Court Judge Mark Violante.

The committee backed two political newcomers and a returning candidate for three Falls City Council seats. Two of those seats are held by Democratic incumbents.

But with Kennedy running for the county legislature and Andrew Touma expected not to seek re-election, the county committee tapped Colin Ligammari, Donta Myles and James Abbondanza as its endorsed candidates. Ligammari and Abbondanza are newcomers to politics but both are active in the local organization representing the interests of short-term rental operators.

They helped lead opposition to Mayor Robert Restaino's proposal to change the city's current short-term rental ordinance. That proposal failed when the Republican majority City Council failed to muster a unanimous vote in support of it.

Myles is a well-known member of the Niagara Falls Peacekeepers and an activist in the minority community.

The committee is backing Paul Beakman, Bethany Patterson, Mark Devine, Christopher Toland, Jon Wiley and Margaret "Maggie" Lupo for spots on the Lockport City Council.

Democrats backed incumbent North Tonawanda Council Member Austin Tylec as their candidate for mayor and threw their support to Luke Brown as the NT city attorney.

North Tonawanda City Council candidates Bobby Brennan, Ryan Howze, Jim Berry and Janette Evans were also endorsed.

The county committee endorsed its chairman, John Jacoby for a seat on the Lewiston Town Board. In the Town of Lockport, candidates Paul Patterson and Syreeta Dean earned endorsements.

Democrats endorsed Town of Niagara Board candidates Marc M. Carpenter, Charles F. Teixeira, Jane Moslow and will back Town Justice: Anthony L. Restaino for a second term.

In the town of Wilson, Democrats endorsed Janet Hoffman for town supervisor and Douglas Perry for town council.