OSWEGO, NY – William “Billy” Barlow officially declared his candidacy for mayor of Oswego Tuesday, and had a couple heavy hitters pledge their support.
Michael Backus, chair of the Oswego County Republican Party, introduced Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay to the large crowd gathered in Montcalm Park in the First Ward.
“I’m thrilled to be here today to support Billy. He may be a fresh face, but he’s certainly not a newcomer. His family has lived here in this community for over four decades.” Ritchie said. “He’s invested in Oswego, opening his own business.”
The job of mayor is about rolling up your sleeves, working hard and coming up with solutions to take the city of Oswego forward, she added.
“I think the city of Oswego is at a crossroads. We have to move forward with young and energetic leadership,” Barclay said. “Billy’s young and energetic and I think he has a great vision for the city of Oswego.”
Barlow is a strong advocate for protecting the taxpayers of Oswego, he added.
“He’s young, energetic and he’s willing to go out and make the tough decisions,” Backus said in introducing the candidate. “He’s going to lead here in the city. I’m so thrilled to have him … ladies and gentlemen, our candidate for mayor, Billy Barlow!”
“This event here tonight isn’t about me. It’s about us as a community,” Barlow said. “It’s about the future of our community and where we want to take our city.”
Voters have an opportunity for change, “the ability to go in in November and start fresh on Jan. 1,” he said. “Now is the time to do something different, something drastic. It’s time to really, really shake up City Hall and finally allow our city to reach its true potential, capitalizing on the positives and aggressively addressing the negatives.”
Everyone knows the city is facing problems, he said, adding that some problems have “been around the better part of 20 years or so.”
“That’s exactly the reason we have to storm City Hall this year with fresh energy, real ambition, strong and bold leadership and that is exactly why I am here tonight to announce my candidacy for city of Oswego mayor!”
He chose Montcalm Park as the place to make his announcement because it is “very symbolic” and reflects the crossroads the city faces, he explained.
“You tend to forget how nice Montcalm Park is until you’re here,” he said. “I think that kind of stands for our thoughts for our city.”
That is much the same as how people tend to forget how nice Oswego is and that it really does have potential, he explained.
“It’s for those reasons that we need to make the changes that we need to make this fall,” he said. “The changes we need to make go beyond Republican or Democrat. They’re basic changes that have to come from the executive branch of city government.
His campaign will cover several different topics including taxes, market rate housing, code enforcement and most of all what he calls, “customer service.”
“Before I ever took office, our residents had their taxes raised by 43% in one year,” he said. “They haven’t seen the return on that money. Our residents deserve to have paved streets. They deserve to have neighboring properties, rental or otherwise, held to proper standards. They deserve to have clear streets in the winter. These are issues that involve management and leadership in the executive branch of city government.”
Barlow, who turns 25 in September, said his age, business experience, and time on the council has him prepared to lead in city government.
“You see the mayor of Ithaca elected at age 24, a congresswoman elected at 30 and plenty of other examples nationwide and its becoming a trend for younger folks to take initiative and get involved in government and the public is reacting favorably,“ he said.
Barlow explained how his age would be an asset for Oswego by pointing out that Oswego needs to hold on to our local high school and college graduates and in the mean time, retain its retirees and seniors.
“Like business, this is a competition. We are competing against other nearby municipalities and we need to set ourselves apart and make ourselves unique and attractive to young professionals and families all while keeping it affordable for our seniors on fixed incomes to stay here,” he said.
He continued on highlighting some other platforms like a “quality of life hotline,” making it easier for people to address problems within their neighborhood, beautification projects, lobbying for new business and outside investment and appropriately marketing and branding Oswego.
Born and raised in Oswego, Barlow is the fifth generation of his family to live in the Fifth Ward, which he currently represents.
He is an Arizona State University graduate and a local small business owner, co-owning Barlow’s Concessions, a family business spanning three generations.
Barlow also works as the Central New York Regional Director for the minority of the New York State Assembly and Leader Brian Kolb.
“I grew my business into Western New York and Arizona at a time when the economy was retracting,” he explained. “Its takes ambition and a special perspective to market the city, lobby for business, encourage people to invest and attract the working class family who will buy a house and contribute to the local economy.”
It will require a blend of small businesses, superb leaders in organized labor, SUNY Oswego, and capitalizing on our tourism assets to spur real economic development and create well paying jobs, he added.
Barlow said he looks forward to campaigning and meeting residents of the city to listen to their concerns and hear their ideas.
“I have a deep passion for this city and enjoy contributing to my hometown as best I can,” he said.
“I’ll say that Bill Barlow will win unequivocally, without reservation, and categorically because he is going to go door to door and get the people to know who he is,” said former long-time city councilor John Canale. “He’s fighting for tougher budgetary oversight, taking code enforcement duties away from Oswego Fire Department and a tax incentive for homeowners to perform improvements and a better winter parking policy. That is his program. And, I agree with it 100 percent.”
Barlow is one of Canale’s former students.
“So, a lot of what he knows came from me,” Canale quipped