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Village of Lewiston: Four candidates running for two trustee spots

Sat, May 21st 2016 07:00 am

Incumbent Village of Lewiston trustees Nick Conde and Daniel Gibson are running for re-election on June 21. Keith "Casey" Ahlas and Jamie Symmonds, two endorsed Democrats, will challenge the endorsed Republican candidates.

Nick Conde

Incumbent Nick Conde announces his intention to seek a second term as village trustee in the upcoming Lewiston election. Conde has served the Village of Lewiston for the past four years as trustee. Prior to that, he served 11 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals, three years as zoning officer and five years as a Recreation Board member. Conde promises to continue his work in the village for the next four years.

In his tenure as village trustee, Conde has used his expertise as a mechanical designer to work for the village. Conde served on the village renaissance Center Street streetscape improvement project and currently works alongside Trustee Dan Gibson in negotiating the village cable agreement with Time Warner Cable. Conde has worked diligently with the current board to bring all businesses into code and start a sensible enforcement process.

Conde and his wife, Debra, have a son, Nicholas, and have resided in Lewiston for 31 years. Conde vows to assure the village maintains the standards of a high quality of life and reasonable fiscal prudence. He is an endorsed Republican candidate.

Daniel Gibson

Incumbent Daniel Gibson has announced his intention to seek a second term as village trustee in the upcoming Lewiston election. Gibson has served the Village of Lewiston for the past two years as trustee and promises to continue his work in the village for the next four years.

In his time as village trustee, Gibson has worked closely with village stakeholders such as Artpark to secure funding for the improved lighting along South Fourth Street; enhanced village cleaning following concerts; and accelerated improvements on the plateau area. Gibson continues to search for ways to improve the efficiency of village government without drastic cuts in services or onerous tax increases.

He is currently a member of Lower Niagara Moose Lodge 584, Messiah Lutheran Church and the North Bailey Volunteer Fire Co.

Gibson and his wife, Jamie, have two children and have resided in Lewiston for the past 30 years. Gibson vows to assure the next generation has the same safe, clean and financially stable village in which to raise their families.

Keith 'Casey' Ahlas

Keith "Casey" Ahlas has announced he is a candidate for the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees in the election to be held Tuesday, June 21.

He was selected as a candidate during the recent caucus of Democrats from the village.

Ahlas has been a resident of the Village of Lewiston for 14 years. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and stepson, Brandon. Ahlas works as an analyst for Livingston International, one of North America's leading providers of customs brokerage services.

Ahlas has been active in the political process, working on campaigns and helping with petitions. He previously ran for the Lewiston Town Board.

"I am a concerned citizen, who, like so many of us, has become disenchanted with the political process and how things are run," Ahlas said. "I am running to make a difference."

Ahlas seeks to bring more participation to village government. He is calling for more listening from elected officials on community issues.

"My goal is to be more accessible to people and their genuine concerns," Ahlas said.

Among village issues, the candidate cites a lack of adequate parking at outdoor summer events in Lewiston, especially for people with disabilities.

Ahlas, who is disabled, said, "With all of the progress being made with new businesses and more visitors, this is certainly an issue that affects me directly. I try to attend as many events as I can, and my wife and I enjoy frequenting the fine restaurants and businesses we have. But adequate parking is always a struggle."

Ahlas said he hopes to make a difference on the Village Board.

"I find Lewiston to be a great area to live in and raise a family, and I want to contribute to that in the best way possible," he said.

Jamie Symmonds

Jamie Symmonds, a longtime business owner and community activist, has announced her candidacy to become a member of the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees. The election is set for Tuesday, June 21.

Symmonds was selected as a candidate during a recent caucus of Democratic Party members from the Village of Lewiston. She is a lifelong resident of the village and, until recently, owned Angel to Apple Clothing & Shoe Boutique on Center Street. She now has a small business-consulting company specializing in marketing and promotions.

Symmonds' campaign agenda includes a focus on code enforcement, open government, business development that reflects smart growth with long-term planning, and a vision to see the community grow for the good of all residents.

"We must respect the past and all our rich history and work to protect our future," Symmonds said. "That can be accomplished by making sure that we maintain, monitor and enforce the codes set forth in the village codebook."

Symmonds also wants broader participation in village government.

"I believe in an open and transparent administration, and I will work to make sure that starts happening," she said. "I want to work for the residents and local businesses, making sure their voices are heard. Their opinions matter to me."

Symmonds wants a change in how the Village Board handles growth.

"I believe in business development and growth, but I don't believe that, currently, the village has been very diligent in making sure that all growth is part of our ultimate vision collectively, our codes or part of the master plan for the Village of Lewiston. There are several projects on the horizon that matter a great deal to, not only to me, but to all residents and business owners, and I want to be part of that process."

Symmonds said her experiences and relationships can help foster a spirit of cooperation in the village.

"I believe I have a vision and the ability to lead by example and problem-solve," she said. "This is evident by my years of experience as a social worker, business owner and continued involvement in our community. I believe I have a good working and personal relationship with several of the businesses and organizations in and around the village, and can work with them as a liaison with the Village Board. I want to serve all the people of our wonderful community."

Symmonds has a long record of service. She started the Black Friday initiative for small businesses in the village and served as chairwoman of the Christmas Walk for the past four years. She participated in and provided fashions for the Peach Queen fashion show.

Symmonds has also volunteered for numerous events and programs, including the Niagara River Region Chamber Gala, Smelt Festival, spring cleanup in the village, Mount St. Mary's Hospital Scavenger Hunt, and the Peach Festival parade (representing the Chamber of Commerce). She is an elected member of the chamber's executive board and a former Village of Lewiston Historic Preservation/Planning Board Member - appointed by former Mayor Richard Soluri.

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