Incumbent mayor takes round one in matchup with Symmonds
Article and photos by Joshua Maloni
Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry Collesano will represent the Republican Party in the June 17 election. The incumbent took 56 of 77 votes in Tuesday's caucus, defeating challenger Jamie Symmonds.
"I accept your nomination; thank you," Collesano told a crowd of almost 100 inside the Red Brick Municipal Building gymnasium. "You know, it was four years ago almost to this day that I stood before you people and thanked you then. I've been the mayor for the last four years. It's been a challenge at times, and it's been a great reward for me at times, as well."
Collesano recalled a conversation he had with late Village of Youngstown Mayor Neil Riordan.
"He said, 'Terry, if you want to succeed in Lewiston, be yourself and don't be a politician,' " Collesano remarked. "He said, 'Be a public servant, first and foremost.'
"You know, the past four years, that's what I've done."
Symmonds, who won the Democratic Party's nomination last Tuesday, and then lost it Wednesday, when her party was disqualified for an alleged lack of proper public notice, said she was pleased with her vote count in a GOP-filled gym.
"Absolutely," she said. "I am very inspired, actually. I think it shows a sign of support from all positions - Democrats, Republicans, Independents. ... I feel even more empowered."
Symmonds, a village business owner, still plans to challenge Collesano in the election.
"I have created my own party, that is the Voice for the Village Party," she said. "I am in the process of now getting signatures for the petition, and then I'll be filing and I will be running under my own party."
Collesano had been mum about his intent to run for a second term as mayor.
"To tell you the truth, I kind of had my doubts at one point," he said. "I talked it over with my family. My family thought that I should run. I said, 'Well, it takes a lot of time.' I have two grandchildren I'd like to spend more time with. They said they'll make the opportunities for me. They'll come to me with the grandchildren.
"They wanted me to run. And, for that reason, (with) the backing of my family, then I thought it was right to run."
Collesano said his first four years were effectual, but there's room for improvement.
"I think successful, to a certain degree, but not entirely - we're not there yet," he said. "There's still some unfinished business. All the more reason why I want to stay on the board, to see if we can continue to resolve the problems that we have in the village.
"As far as the Frontier House, we still would like to see that come to fruition one day - soon, hopefully. We're working very closely with the present owner, Alan Hastings, trying to help him as best we can, and hopefully something's going to become of that soon.
"And another thing, Artpark (is) not completed yet, as far as the traffic pattern. ... We'll continue to tweak that, even though I think we're at a much, much better position than we were four years ago."
In addition to Symmonds, it appears Collesano will face opposition from village resident Jacqueline Lampman, who also intends to run on an independent line. Lampman lost the Democratic caucus to Symmonds.
Collesano said he welcomes the challenge.
"It's anybody's right to run," he said. "This is America, and if people feel like they want to run and they have some better ideas, then I welcome to hear whatever their suggestions are.
"I know what we're doing, and I think some people are behind us. That was proven, I believe, tonight by the number of people who came out. We'll continue to do what we feel is best for the Village of Lewiston."
It's been 16 years since a Republican mayor faced off with an opposing party's candidate in the village election.
Prior to the mayoral caucus vote, the GOP selected incumbent Republican trustees Bruce Sutherland and Vic Eydt to run for another four-year term, and selected appointed Trustee Daniel Gibson to run for a two-year term (concluding former Trustee Dennis Brochey's term).
At this time, the three trustees are running unopposed.