June 21, 2008
2 candidates in the race for 7th Ward seat
CORTLAND — Two candidates will contend in the special election for the 7th Ward alderman seat — Chuck Hamilton and Tim Armstrong.
Hamilton, 57, of 3 Regina Drive, was appointed April 14 to fill the term of Alderman Jim Partigianoni, who died in office.
The July 1 special election will fill the remainder of Partigianoni’s two-year term, which expires at the end of December 2009.
Hamilton has been an employee at Cooper Tools for 35 years.
A Cortland native, Hamilton served in the army from 1967 to 1970, including a tour in Vietnam. He continued as a squad leader for the Mechanized Infantry Unit in the National Guard in the 1980s.
As a 7th Ward resident for 15 years, Hamilton has assisted at ice cream socials and fundraisers, and is a board member of the East End Community Center.
Hamilton, a Democrat, has been married to his wife, Colleen, for 22 years. He has two children.
During his time on the Common Council, he has worked with residents on their concerns about Marietta Corp., including dust and truck traffic. He wants to now focus his attention on St. Anthony’s Church, which is awaiting word from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse on whether the parish will be merging with St. Mary’s parish.
“I think it went very well,” Hamilton said of the Marietta issues. “It started with one phone call with truck traffic on Hubbard Street and it turned out to be a major concern so we formed a little task force. We each took a different assignment and identified problems and possible solutions.”
“Quality-of-life” issues stemming from Marietta’s truck traffic and facilities in the 7th Ward are in the process of being negotiated by city and company officials.
“St. Anthony’s is important and I want to try to find any way to help keep it here in the community and open,” Hamilton said. “It would be devastating to lose the church in this neighborhood.”
Hamilton said his three-month experience on the council could be an advantage against Armstrong, a Republican.
“I have gotten to meet quite a few people but I know my opponent knows a lot of people in this neighborhood,” Hamilton said. “I believe I have proven myself already to go after solutions to problems presented to us. I’m realizing what a nice place Cortland is.”
Armstrong, 34, of 182 Central Ave., has owned and operated the East Side Bakery for three and a half years.
The former city police officer is engaged to be married to Christine Hickey on Aug. 30 and has no children.
Armstrong said he opened the bakery simply because there was not one.
“I figured it was (either) an untapped resource or there was a reason it doesn’t work,” he said.
Armstrong said he wants to get more business into the 7th Ward.
“The economy is huge in Cortland. We really need to bring jobs in the area. Everybody wants people to move to Cortland, come to Cortland, but what do we have to offer them?” Armstrong said. “The Common Council needs to work together. The two parties fight against one another when they need to be working as a team for the city’s interest not their own. We need more decisions.”
Armstrong said he wants to be elected to be on the council to be a part of the solution.
“I’m not going to sit around and complain about the city unless I’m willing to be a part of the solution,” he said. “I live in the 7th Ward, I own and operate a small business in the 7th Ward, so obviously I have a vested interest in the 7th Ward. But more importantly, I have been a lifelong resident of Cortland and I want to see the best for our entire city.”
Armstrong said he does not have the answers for everything, but has an open door policy.
“Anyone can come into the bakery and I will bring up their concerns to the council,” he added. “If everyone had the answers I don’t think the city would be in the situation their in.”
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