With the support of his family and friends, Don Schildhauer formally announced his candidacy for a seat on the Niagara Town Board on Tuesday.
Schildhauer called for a "town government that is always willing to listen, and that engages the town's citizens in the search for ideas," and said he is willing to help provide leadership and accountability at Niagara Town Hall, drawing on a lengthy managerial career in the business world.
A lifelong town resident, Schildhauer is manager of a major business in the town, a position he has held for nearly two decades. In that role, he has managed a multi-million dollar budget, as well as built and maintained customer and employee relations - skills he said are needed in Niagara's town government.
"I have led a company, I have led employees," Schildhauer said. "We need more than just managers at town hall - we need leaders willing to make tough choices to protect our taxpayers and continue to grow our tax base."
Schildhauer lives in town with Peggy (Rizzo), his wife of 26 years. Together they have two sons, Donald and Angelo.
Schildhauer said he was proud to have raised two children in town but is worried about what kind of town will be left to his children's generation. He noted that last week current Supervisor Lee Wallace had announced his intent to devise a "strategic master plan" for the town that, in Wallace's words, would "establish building blocks for the future as we move into the next decade and beyond."
Saying his business world experience is currently missing from those discussions, Schildhauer said he hopes to work with town leaders to ensure any master plan furthers an environment that is welcoming to business growth and job creation.
"We have seen a number of challenges here: drainage issues have increased substantially and a town government that has undergone enormous leadership changes in a short period of time," Schildhauer said. "If we are to devise a master plan, we need to ensure that it takes the needs of our property owners and our business community into account, instead of serving as a wish list for town government."
Schildhauer is seeking the Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines in November.