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Mayor decides not to seek re-election

Williamsville Mayor Mary E. Lowther says she will not run for re-election in November because of leg problems she's had since falling on ice 15 months ago.

"I just haven't been able to do physically what I really had been able to do in the past," Lowther said. "It really curtailed me a little bit."

Lowther said she wouldn't be able to go door-to-door campaigning, something she called "crucial" to village elections.

"There's some good candidates who are running for office, and I think it's time for me to miss this one," Lowther said. "We've accomplished a lot, and I'm really pleased we've done a good job."

Lowther was elected a village trustee in 1991 and 2003, and was appointed interim mayor in 2005 after Ray Hazlett resigned for health reasons. Lowther was elected to fill Hazlett's term in 2006 and re-elected to a full term in 2007, when she beat Trustee Brian J. Geary by seven votes.

Lowther is a member of the Vision Party, a preservation-based group that unseated the incumbent Harmony Party in 2003. Lowther said she assisted Trustee Brian J. Kulpa in his 2007 campaign efforts on the Vision line. Kulpa announced last week that he would challenge Lowther in November on the Harmony Party line.

"I'm disappointed that he decided he felt he needed to challenge me," Lowther said. "But that's his choice. Everybody makes choices."

Lowther, Williamsville's first female mayor, cast the deciding vote when the village decided to purchase the historic Williamsville Water Mill in 2005. In January 2010, the village used $81,000 in federal block grant funds to improve the rapidly decaying mill and in December unveiled a $5.1 million, mixed-use development plan that would include office, retail and public space for a "village square."

"I think it was absolutely crucial or I think the mill would have disappeared by now," Lowther said.

Lowther also fought against dissolution efforts led by activist Kevin Gaughan. In August, 80 percent of those who voted chose to keep the village government. Lowther had pushed for a public forum to discuss the issue.

"I think the community spoke," she said. "I think they're very pleased with the village and how [it] provides services."

Lowther said she also presided over the installation of new street lights on Main Street, water lines, roads and other things "people don't see." She said she is proud of the village's cooperation with its business association and the garden walk.

She hopes to remain active on village committees and will continue working full time as services and benefits coordinator for the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association.

Trustee Jeffrey L. Kingsley announced months ago that he would not run for re-election. Committee activists Dan DeLano and Amy Alexander will run for Kingsley's and Kulpa's seats. Residents who want to run can obtain nominating petitions at Village Hall, 5565 Main St., from May 10 through 17.

e-mail: cspecht@buffnews.com

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