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North Tonawanda Council president to run for Niagara County Legislature

NORTH TONAWANDA – Common Council President Richard Andres will run for a seat on the Niagara County Legislature being vacated by the soon-to-retire Peter Smolinski, a fellow Republican.

“I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done on the City Council to date,” said Andres, who has served two two-year terms.

“We’ve streamlined the city government. Taxes have gone up very minimally. We’ve been able to maintain our services … I’d like to take that message out to the county.”

Andres, 33, of the 2nd Ward, teaches history at North Tonawanda High School, where he graduated.

Married with two young children, he earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Niagara University and a master’s degree in local history from Buffalo State College.

During his time on the Common Council, it focused on reviving the Webster Street business district, where new restaurants have opened in recent years.

“My next sort of phase of concern is the Oliver Street corridor,” he said, referring to a part of the city known for its old housing stock, some of it run-down.

“Like Webster, I’d like to see the same type of success spill over down Oliver Street,” he added.

If elected to a two-year term on the Legislature, Andres said, he would work to direct “Greenway” funds paid by the Niagara Power Project as part of its relicensing agreement.

“The goal was to beautify the waterfront all along the Niagara River,” he said of grants from the fund. “I want to just refocus those type of projects on cities like North Tonwanda,” he added.

Alderwoman-at-Large Nancy Donovan, a Republican, has said that she will not run for re-election, which would leave two seats on the Common Council without incumbents seeking re-election.

The other incumbents with expiring terms will run for re-election: Aldermen Eric Zadzilka of the 3rd Ward, a Republican, and Russ Rizzo, of the 1st Ward, a former county legislator and former owner of an office supply business.

An Independent who caucuses with Republicans, Rizzo served on the Council from 2000 to 2009 before spending two years as a Niagara County legislator.