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Meet your First Ward Candidates

Below please find the candidates who submitted answers for your ward in the upcoming election.

First Ward Candidates Answers

Jason Vicchiariello

1. If you were to introduce yourself, how would you describe you?

Answer: I was born and raised in Port Jervis and am a family man with a strong work ethic. As a resident of West End, I live with my wife, Shannon, who is a third grade teacher with the Port Jervis School District and my son, Connor, who is a Port Jervis Graduate and a Junior at SUNY Cortland. I am a graduate of Port Jervis High School and earned my Associates Degree from Orange County Community College in Criminal Justice. I had a wonderful twenty five year career with the Port Jervis Police Department, retiring as a Sergeant. Upon retiring, I began a small house flipping business with the goal of turning vacant or nuisance homes in Port Jervis into beautiful single family, owner occupied homes. Volunteerism is important to me. I have been a volunteer with the Port Jervis Fire Department for thirty two years and have coached both youth baseball and youth football here in Port Jervis. I have volunteered with Port Jervis Soap Box Derby and have participated in the Port Jervis School District Read Across America activities.

2. What motivated you to become a candidate?

Answer: I love this city. My family has called Port Jervis “home” since my great grandfathers owned Vicchiariello's Vegetable Stand in the Acre and Weigel's Meat Store in West End, almost one hundred years ago. I have always tried to do my part to help my neighbors and to help the city evolve and move forward. I still have a lot to give to this city which has given me so much. When I was asked if I would run for City Council, I jumped at the chance to help in a new way and give the taxpayers a voice in city politics.

3. What issues do you believe the city is facing?

Answer: I believe the biggest issue facing the city is transition. There will be a lot of new faces on the council, including the mayor, after this election. This is going to be a challenging, but perfect time to keep existing projects moving forward, while new ideas and concepts on how to finance these projects can come to fruition. Other major issues that hinder the city include the sewer project and infrastructure issues.

4. Any ideas on how to remedy them?

Answer: My quick answer is teamwork and knowledge. I've always believed in hard work and doing my due diligence. If I don't know something, I will seek out and talk to people who know more than I do. Reaching out to these experts in the field will help me to make an informed and educated decision. The issues which face the city need to be identified and prioritized. Some of these issues already have funding and are not being addressed. Other issues will require the council to find funding without relying on taxpayers, creating a new tax, or instituting an additional fee.

5. What is your vision of Port Jervis?

Answer: My vision for Port Jervis is to keep moving forward, while holding on to our community roots. This strong sense of community is what makes this city so great. Continued growth in the business district and the newly annexed property, along with more owner occupied homes in the wards, will only improve Port Jervis. I am so excited to have the opportunity to represent the First Ward and am dedicated to ensuring that my neighbors continue to live in the type of neighborhood that they have worked so hard to create.

Alex Ginella 1. If you were to introduce yourself, how would you describe you? My name is Alex Ginella. I grew up in New Jersey and graduated from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. I own a house in the First Ward with my wife, Amber, and work at Gillinder Glass. I am a very community-oriented and creative person. I created during the pandemic to continue to foster a sense of community, to relay ways to help others in the community, and to support local businesses when many small businesses were struggling. I developed a community gift card program called the Port Card to further encourage local spending. I am an active volunteer and board member of the Outdoor Club of Port Jervis, helping with events, trail building, the disc golf course and designing the new maps and brochures. I am passionate about local history and have created brochures with historical information for some of our neighborhoods, a printed guide about the Erie Railroad, created three Port Jervis collectible pieces for a fundraiser, started a “This Week in Port Jervis History” blog on my website,, and am a board member of the Minisink Valley Historical Society and Tri-States Railway Preservation Society. In addition to creating the Visit Port Jervis website and Facebook page, I designed a printed Visitor’s Guide that I have distributed throughout the Tri-State area and have shipped requested copies across the United States and even internationally at my own expense to promote Port Jervis and help grow our recreational tourism. I have led hikes, am the chair of the Port Jervis Food Co-op Events Committee, and have organized community events like Caroling in the Square and the upcoming Family Game Day in Orange Square. I am currently enrolled in a ten month Master Community Builder Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County. I am hardworking and committed to our community. I am constantly seeking to learn more, grow, and to improve my community. 2. What motivated you to become a candidate? I often seek ways to give back to the community and build community in Port Jervis. I volunteer my time with the organizations I’m on the board of, including The Outdoor Club of Port Jervis, Friends of Robert Lewis and the Port Jervis Food Co-op. I also have created fundraisers for local organizations, started a community gift card program for Port Jervis (The Port Card), formed a Sister City relationship with Lapio, Italy, organized events, and promoted local businesses, community events, and Port Jervis in general, through my social media pages, SupportJervis,com, and I’d love to be able to serve my community further through the Common Council and by addressing the issues that are most important to my neighbors in the community. 3. What issues do you believe the city is facing? From my own perspective and from conversations with many of my neighbors in the First Ward, I think there are a number of issues that we are facing as a community that fall under quality of life issues. Some areas that we can focus attention on are affordable housing, public safety, healthcare, and improved social connections. 4. Any ideas as to how to remedy them? In order to help create a climate of affordable housing for all in Port Jervis, we need to work diligently to balance the city’s budget, find grants and other sources of funding for projects when possible, and utilize external revenue streams (such as the beach fee and bed tax for hotels) to minimize increases on property taxes in Port Jervis . There have been efforts in Port Jervis to convert multi-family homes back to single-family dwellings, which has thankfully seen a lot of buildings restored or improved in condition. We must focus on land use and zoning reform, however, to balance this out, in order to limit the affordable housing gap in our community. We can work more diligently to ensure that regulations are being met by all landlords, tenants and home-owners to grow the civic pride so many of our residents have. I’d like to see continued support from the city for projects like the Rumshock Veterans Foundation, the possible year-round shelter, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program to ensure the housing needs of everyone. I’d like to see better communication between the city and its citizens in general, but I believe better communication of mental health and drug abuse resources, improved county government partnerships, and better access through improved transportation are very important. I’d like to have materials to distribute to citizens of Port Jervis that would outline the services within the city. A designated Community Services Committee would be an ideal way to strengthen the relationship between citizens and the city government, police, and healthcare services in order to address these needs and continue to bolster these services and improve communication. I personally did a survey of park space and unused city properties and I believe improvements can also be made to our neighborhood parks and other parcels to further improve quality of life. There are several grants available to turn some of these spaces into more usable family-friendly park space with simple improvements like pathways, lighting, and installation of fitness or playground equipment. 5. What is your vision for Port Jervis? My vision for Port Jervis is an affordable, sustainable and resilient community with good jobs and schools, where local businesses thrive, and where there is a strong sense of community. I believe Port has a lot of these characteristics already. I believe we can do more to strengthen our local economy, support existing community hubs and build new ones, improve social connections amongst citizens, and attract more employers to Port Jervis and the surrounding area. I am committed to work hard to continually improve the safety, health, and happiness of all our citizens.

Colin O'Connell

1. If you were to introduce yourself, how would you describe you I am a laid-back, easy-going guy. My family, friends, and community mean the world to me. I’m a proud father to my daughter Makayla and husband to my wife Michelle. To me there’s nothing more important than my family. I have a background in gas construction and am currently employed at Orange and Rockland as a customer service representative I’m an immensely inquisitive person that enjoys reading and learning new things; science and history fascinate me the most. I’m an avid news reader and I pride myself on being up to date on current events. Some of my hobbies include running, hiking, fishing, and hunting. 2. What motivated you to become a candidate? Firstly, I’m running because I care so much about the future of Port Jervis. I want nothing more than to serve the place has been pivotal in making me the person I am today. Whether it be climbing trees at my Grandmas in West End when I was no older than 6, Hiking all the way up to Point Peter with my Dad from Hudson Street or saying I do to my wife at St. Mary’s Church ; There are so many fond memories I have growing up here. I was extremely honored the day I was asked to run again. I am lucky that I could potentially make a difference in the town that gave so much to me. I’m running for city council because I want to make sure my family, friends and neighbors have someone in their corner fighting for them. I’m running because I believe the group of people I’m running with are the real deal and know we will all do great things for the city. It is imperative that the city continues to be a safe and prosperous place to raise a family. I will pay great attention to the needs of our community and won’t leave any voice unheard. This transition period is going to be important, and I want to make sure Port Jervis continues to move forward in a positive but financially sensible direction. I also want to see to it that all residents are provided with every opportunity to succeed and live in a place they can be proud of. 3. What issues do you believe the city is facing. Some important issues that continue to face our city is crime, unchecked spending, the sewer project, the opioid and drug problem, absent landlords, fixing the aging infrastructure of our town and finding additional sources of funding to help provide the capital that helps our community flourish. 4. Any ideas how to remedy them? The way to go about tackling and moving past issues that face our city is to work together as a team. We shouldn’t make any major decisions without looking at every possible angle of an issue. We should always reach out to experts when dealing with important issues. It’ll also be imperative to listen to community members and get their opinions on what they think solutions to problems could be. Another way we can make informed decisions on issues is to reach out to communities all over the state that delt successfully with the same or similar problems as we are dealing with. One way to lower the burden on the taxpayer is to reach out and try to get as many grants from the state as possible. We should also incentivize private companies to come in and invest in the growth and prosperity of our city. 5. What is your vision for Port Jervis. My vision for Port Jervis is for the city to grow and prosper in a fiscally responsible way. We must continue incentivizing investment in businesses and the community by private companies and citizens. These businesses bring in tourism and money which in turn makes this city a better place to live. I want to continue trying to get as many grants as possible to help better our city. Any money we get from grants is less money in taxes that fall on the back of us the taxpayers. I would like to see many more festivals fairs and races in the future; all these bring in tourists and are great way to bring good publicity to the city. We should also focus on the history of our town. There are so many historic events and important things that took place here and could be a potential source of tourists as well. I would also like to make sure city land is utilized to its full potential while preserving the natural beauty that surrounds us.

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