By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — The Town of Tonawanda Republican Committee has chosen its candidates for the upcoming town and village board races this November, town GOP Committee Chairman Mark Tramont said Monday.
“Town council candidates are local business owner Michael Vishion, accountant Ann Morelli and human resource professional Gigi Grizanti,” Tramont said in a statement. “All three have deep roots in the town and village and are products of the Ken-Ton School system.”
Vishion, Morelli and Grizanti will be challenging three of the board’s Democratic incumbents who are up for election — John Bargnesi Jr., Lisa Chimera and Joseph Emminger Sr.
The three incumbents have served on the board for eight years, and will run again in November’s race.
“I look forward to the debates,” Emminger said. “We run on our record, on the fiscal responsibility and growth in the town. I don’t concern myself who is running against me.”
Bargnesi echoed Emminger’s comments.
“This time around, we are going to run on our accomplishments,” he said. “I work very hard on development and redevelopment ... our economic growth, new companies and commercial development. That’s really what I am most proud of and what I put my work into.”
Chimera, too, said she is anticipating the start of election season.
“I feel proud I was able to fulfill promises I made,” she said. “I look forward to a very positive and productive campaign where we can focus on the issues.”
In his statement, Tramont said this year’s Republican candidates give voters the “opportunity to bring back highly qualified candidates that are willing to do the right thing for the residents and business owners of Tonawanda.”
One of those candidates, Vishion, operated the concession stands at the Sheridan and Brighton golf courses until 2011, when the town abruptly canceled the deal after the businessman challenged Dan Crangle for his board seat.
After the cancellation of the contract, Vishion quickly became an outspoken critic of the board. In October, he criticized the town when officials announced that they had never paid sales tax on concessions sales.
Vishion now hopes to serve the town in what he calls a “transparent” and “ethical” way.
“I will utilize my vast experience in government funding, contracts and program oversight to assure our tax dollars are used as efficiently and effectively as possible,” he said. “I will also work with local businesses to implement strategies and policies to maintain our current businesses, attract new businesses and create additional employment opportunities for town residents.”
The second challenger, Ann Morelli, is a graduate of Kenmore West and D’Youville College, and is the former president of the Ken-Ton Parent Teacher Student Association.
“I will work to restore transparency to all levels of town government and bring a fresh perspective to the operations of our town,” Morelli said. “I plan to improve both the environment and safety of our town by collaborating with outside agencies and our town police, to ensure that the town is indeed a great place to live, work and play.”
Grizanti, who ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2011, will try again this November. According to the town GOP committee, Grizanti has 25 years of professional business experience and also has strong community ties through her involvement in the Ken-Ton Friends of Youth and the Tonawanda Aquettes.
“I will bring to the town my experience in human resources, health care plan administration and innovative approaches to cost containment,” Grizanti said. “I will see to it that all residents of Tonawanda are treated with the respect they deserve, listen to their problems and ideas and find solutions that work for all residents and tax payers alike.”
Tramont also announced Monday that they have selected Leonard Rollo, a recent Kenmore West graduate, to run for a village trustee position. One Democratic trustee, Paul Catalano, and one Republican trustee, Salvatore Muscarella, will defend their seats this November.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150