Tonawanda News — Chair of the Tonawanda Democratic Committee Gayle Syposs said the committee interviewed both Casal and Little, and will announce their endorsement next month. If Casal is not chosen, she said she is prepared to challenge Little in a primary.
On the Republican side, Chuck Gilbert, a former one-term councilman and candidate for the state Assembly, will also vie for the First Ward seat and has already won the party’s endorsement.
Gilbert works as an electrician and pointed to both his involvement in the community and his experience on the council.
“The city deserves someone who actually has a private sector job and knows what it is like to struggle, and will use that to fight for what’s best and right for the city,” he said.
The current school board president, Jackie Smilinich, will also try her hand at a council seat and is hoping to take the Democratic endorsement from current Second Ward Councilman Blake Boyle — who has held the seat for 10 years.
That endorsement, too, will be announced next month.
Despite his experience, Boyle expressed some worry that the committee may endorse Smilinich after he cited the district’s impending tax increase and financial struggles.
But Smilinich said her board experience will lend toward her ability to serve on the council.
“I believe that the experience I bring from the six years on the board and my past positions ... along with my contacts in and outside of government will greatly enable me to make the necessary decisions required to develop this community,” she said in a statement.
Jon Juliano, a political newcomer, will also throw his hat in the race and has won the Republican endorsement for the Second Ward race. Juliano said he works at an accounts receivable company, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the business.