Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster will not seek a fourth term.
Dyster, who has held the city’s top office since 2008, announced his decision in a letter that was read to the Niagara Falls Democratic Committee Wednesday evening as they began their 2019 endorsement meeting.
“Twelve years is a long time to serve as mayor,” he wrote, “and I have concluded that the time has come for me to give more attention to the other priorities in my life, including spending more time with my family.”
The committee moved to hold an open primary in June to determine a candidate to succeed him.
City Clerk Lisa A. Vitello, who is city Democratic chairman, said three people have indicated an interest to run in the primary. They are Seth Piccirillo, the city’s community development director; attorney Robert Restaino and City Council member Ezra Scott.
“We weren’t really sure what the mayor was going to do,” Vitello said. “He’s really turned things around in 12 years. He really worked for the good of the people of Niagara Falls. I think everybody’s going to miss him.”
Among his accomplishments, she cited the removal of the Robert Moses Expressway and noted that “downtown is completely different than it was when he came into office.”
Meg Rossman, special assistant to Dyster, said that the mayor will spend the next day or two with his family.
In his letter, Dyster noted, “I would like to think I’ve helped move the city forward during my time in office, but the vision I strove to realize is not my vision – it is the people’s vision. If it is grounded on solid principles and inspired by lofty ideals – which I believe is the case here in Niagara Falls – the people’s vision does not rise or fall with the fortunes of one man.”
Dyster began his political career as a Niagara Falls City Council member in 2000, then ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for mayor in 2003. He won the primary in 2007 and was elected mayor in a landslide.
In endorsing Dyster in 2007, The Buffalo News noted that he “practically vibrates with a sense of hopefulness that springs from his understanding of what the city has going for it.”
In 2011, he became the first Niagara Falls mayor to win re-election since 1991.