Editor's note: Each candidate was alloted 150 words or less to answer each question below. Some answers were edited to fit.

CAM T. TIEN (D,WF)

Age: 43

Education: Bachelors in History and Government with specialization in secondary Social Studies from Daemen College; Masters in Education, Literacy from SUNY Cortland

Job/background: Social Studies teacher at Rome City School District; 19 years teaching experience in secondary Social Studies education; two years with Rome City Common Council

Family: Wife and two children

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What would you say are the biggest issues facing Ward One and how would you address those?

An issue is the inconsistent implementation of city policies and enforcement of city ordinances. I have heard from many constituents regarding these inconsistencies. These have caused residents to have the perception they were targeted or neglected. It has also created obstacles for small business owners. A solution that may assist to eliminate these inconsistencies is to provide effective training for personnel responsible for implementation and enforcement and install a documentation system. An issue that is impacting the constituents of the Ward 1 is the lack of tenant screening by landlords. Most of the constituency contact I received have been related to the negative actions of tenants and their impact on the neighborhoods. We need to reinstate the tenant index that was once available for landlords. This index provided landlords a resource to assist them in their tenant screening.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

In my term as a city councilor, I have increased engagement, awareness and responsiveness that had not been evident since I moved into the Ward 1 in 2004. Through my use of a social media platform, many constituents have shared their delight with being how informed they are about city events and changes. There are residents that have praised my prompt responses and follow-ups to their questions and concerns. Since the first year of my term, I have made personal contact with the constituents a priority. I have held several ward meetings and have walked and spoke with residents through most of the neighborhoods in Ward 1. I have assisted many of these residents regardless of who they were or which neighborhood they lived in.

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Editor's note (Oct. 28, 2019): The Observer-Dispatch was given incorrect contact information for Republican challenger John Sparace ahead of the election guide. His answers are below.

JOHN M. SPARACE (R,C,I)

Age: 43

Education: Graduated from Niagara County Community College with an AS in Human Services (1996); Graduated from Plattsburgh State University with two bachelor’s degrees: Elementary Ed K-6 and Special Education Pre-K-12 (1998); graduated from Plattsburgh State University with Master of Science in teaching: Special Education Pre-K-12 (1999)

Occupation: Special Education high school teacher in the Whitesboro Central School District for the past 19 years.

Family: Wife and two children

 

 

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What would you say are the biggest issues facing Ward One and how would you address those?

Combatting the blight and decay of properties that are owned by absentee landlords is a concern. I plan to work with the codes department to close the gap with these properties and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Crime and drug addiction are concerns, we need to make sure we continue to be leaders and on the forefront of developing solutions for these issues. It would be my job to find creative ways to hold the line on spending so that the burden is not put on the taxpayers. I would work to reduce the tax burden to develop new revenue sources and to find a way to creatively reduce expenses. We must continue to apply for the grants that will offset the taxes. We need to expand our development efforts along the harbor and canal areas. We also need to be inventive and attract new businesses with higher paying jobs.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

I feel that my prior knowledge and experience as a councilor, along with serving as President Pro Tempore (Majority Leader) of the council, would benefit me once again as the first ward councilor. I would have a clear and concise open line of communication with the mayor and administration, which currently is not happening. I can work amicably with city hall for the benefit of everyone within the ward. Even though I will ask the hard questions and I will be a strong advocate for the people I represent. I have and always will have the ability to communicate and keep an open dialog with the constituents. I would hold regular ward meetings to provide information to the residents on city events, projects and possible improvements. I would implement a neighborhood “ward walk” it would involve myself and city staff that would identify issues in the ward and then we would address them.