FULTON – Mayoral candidate Deana Michaels has been going around Fulton to hold town hall meetings for residents to speak with her about their questions and concerns.
The most recent meeting was Wednesday, July 31, at Tavern on the Lock.
Michaels said she wanted to take the time to hear from residents their vision of Fulton and the challenges presented in achieving that end goal. Additionally, she said she would like to have regular community meetings after the election.
To start the discussion, she explained why she decided to run for mayor in the first place.
She said she grew up in Oswego, but spent a lot of time with family in Fulton and then made the decision to move to the city 16 years ago to raise her sons, Jeffrey and Ryan with her husband, Kevin.
“Why did I decide to run for mayor? Well, it was because of my boys,” Michaels said.
She said when her oldest son was in college, he told her he did not have a big reason to move back to Fulton when he graduated. They sat down and talked about what they loved and were concerned about in Fulton.
She set her mind to give him a reason to move back to the city he grew up in by taking action and getting involved in local government. She said for a few years after that she attended schools to better her understanding of government before putting her name on the list of candidates.
Her son graduated from college in May and recently accepted a job offer from Attis and living in Fulton.
One resident, Kelly, asked how Michaels would be able to overcome projects being blocked by lack of funding.
Michaels said given her experience in business, she has an understanding from an economic perspective what funding opportunities are out there.
She said there are over 15,400 possible grants to apply to nationwide, and an effective and dedicated grant writer would be able to help Fulton get more funding for projects and programs.
“If you’re not a grant writer, and you’re asked to go write a grant, and you’re asked to go pave a street, and you’re asked to run a fire department, and you’re asked to go do all the other hats you wear, that grant writing pays the price,” Michaels said.
Another resident asked Michaels what she would do in regards to poverty and opioid addiction in the city.
Michaels said she is on the board for Oswego County Opportunities and expressed the importance of knowing available resources, like OCO, Farnham Family Services and the VOW Foundation.
She said it is also important for Fulton to have representation at a county level. Michaels said Oswego County has a drug task force, but no one from the Fulton police department is on it.
Larry Machner, sixth ward councilor, said there is not enough funding to assign someone to the task force.
“We have a great police department and we want to make sure they have the tools and resources they need, but as a community, we have to have a seat at the table, a voice in the conversation, so that we can fight for our city and ensure that safety is first and foremost,” Michaels said.
Other topics discussed included economic development and code enforcement. To hear the full discussion, listen here.
The next pop up meeting will be August 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Meadowbrook Community Room.