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Meet Your Local Candidates

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Each local election we like to share information about the candidates that are running for the Council, Mayor and Councilperson At Large. I provide them with five questions that

they answer and send back to me. I then copy and paste their answers. The articles will be arranged by ward after the Mayor and Councilperson At Large has posted. I hope that their answers can help you become more informed about each candidate. Below are the candidates for each position.


Elizabeth Miller

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

I am currently a First Ward councilperson for the City of Port Jervis where I serve as the Finance Chair. I have a deep love for our city and I am proud that this is the community I grew up in. Port Jervis and its people helped shape me into who I am. It's where I learned the importance of being a good neighbor and stepping up for others when they need it most. After 9/11 this community did just that and showed my family such kindness. I have tried to show that same kindness to our residents as a councilperson and would remain committed to that as Mayor. I’ve held several different positions and each one taught me organizational, communication, and leadership skills. I've taught high school history in Yonkers, worked at Pace University assisting with study abroad and cultural programming, and I also worked for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum as a research coordinator. I am currently the Project Director of a 9/11 family member non-profit organization, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, where I am responsible for the communication and leadership for a membership of 250 people across the United States and abroad. I often meet with government officials in the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, the National Security Council, and Senator staffers, advocating on issue areas regarding post 9/11 policies.

In 2020, after graduate school, I knew I wanted to move back home and invest in the City of Port Jervis. I am a homeowner in West End and plan to raise my own family here one day. My heart is always in my work which encourages me to dedicate my time fully to assisting others and facilitating progress in the positions I have.

I believe some of the most important things in life are being kind to others, demonstrating understanding, and working closely with others to achieve your goals.

2. What motivated you to become a candidate?

I wanted to continue my involvement with the city council. Over the last two years as a council person, I’ve learned how the city functions, listened to our residents, and helped to make decisions that have continued our city’s progress. I have built relationships with department heads, city officials, and individuals at the county level. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time being on the council and I am hoping for the opportunity to take on a larger role in moving Port Jervis forward.

I have the utmost respect for all candidates who want to newly get involved or remain involved. It brings me joy knowing we have great individuals who are willing to dedicate their time to serve our city.

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

It may sound simple, but one of our city’s biggest issues is communication. We have seen major progress and will continue to see city growth with the recent $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant. The council makes decisions on behalf of the taxpayers, listens to their concerns, and works hard to balance what’s best for the city and the taxpayer. I think we owe it to our citizens to do a better job of explaining our decisions and thought process behind our decisions.

I would like to help strengthen our inclusivity of all residents, enhance our broader business district, get residents better access to the resources we have available, and responsibly manage city finances.

4. Any ideas as to how to remedy them?

As Mayor, I would work diligently to find better methods of communication, whether that be a newsletter, available office hours, or informational sessions - likely a combination of the three. I think a strong leader makes themselves available for those who need them. I would like to encourage communication between the Mayor, Common Council, and the people. Listening to residents and their concerns is a crucial component of being the Mayor. I plan to lend my ear and my heart to this city and its people.

I would like to work closely with our Community Development Agency, who already works so hard obtaining grants to help offset the financial burden of progress for our taxpayers, to find more grants for our broader business district. This would help to encourage greater economic investment into our city – with a goal of new businesses and new residents.

I would also like to help strengthen City Hall. Our department heads work tirelessly to keep our city functioning. I work closely now with the City Clerk Treasurer and our goal is to create better and stronger city policies for better production and better tracking of city finances.

I think it is necessary for our city to have a Human Resources Coordinator who can help to ensure work flow, production, and act as a resource for city employees. I have drafted this position and we are currently in the hiring process. As Mayor, I would like to help make sure this individual has the necessary tools to make for a better workplace for all.

5. What is your vision for Port Jervis?

My vision is to help facilitate moving Port Jervis forward. Over the last several years we have seen great city progress. It has been a privilege serving on the council and my hope is to remain involved in seeing our city be a great place to live, work, and play for all people.

Dominic Cicalese

1. If you were to introduce yourself, how would you describe you? I was raised in Port Jervis and taught at an early age to give back to it. My mother worked part time and was involved in the community. My father was the Postmaster for 20 years and also the city's Fire Chief in the early 2000s. Volunteering and giving back to this town is very important to me. I had the privilege of following in my fathers footsteps and became the city's Fire Chief in 2018. My wife and I, after we settled into our careers, decided to stay in town and raise our two children here. Growing up, this town was good to me. It's now time for me to give back more to it. 1. What motivated you to become a candidate? Prior to my term as Fire Chief expired, I knew I wanted to continue to be involved with our local government. Becoming Port Jervis' mayor has always been a goal of mine. When mayor Decker announced he was not seeking election, the opportunity presented itself. This is the right opportunity and time for me to run for office. I have seen our town go through changes and want to continue to push our city forward in a positive yet responsible direction. 1. What issues do you believe the city is facing? Economic growth. The city must continue to expand its tax base and bring in jobs. Our city should never be a finished product, we must continue to move our town forward. The city is under a DEC consent decree in regards, to our sewers. The sewer project must continue to be a priority for our government until completion. Currently our seniors do not have a place to conduct meeting or events. Our youth center is badly in need of an upgrade which will provide more programs and opportunities for our youth. 1. Any ideas on how to remedy them? The city must continue to seek out investors and developers to expand our tax base and help stabilize taxes. The city must also continue to seek additional revenue sources and grant funding. This will lighten the burden placed on our taxpayers with necessary infrastructure projects and unfunded state and federal mandates. The next city council must work together with the department heads to help remedy the issues our city faces whether its crime, code violations, infrastructure or economic development to name a few. I am fortunate to run with a solid slate of candidates for city council. Together, I believe, we can work hard to create an even better place with lasting positive changes. 1. What is your vision for Port Jervis? My vision for Port Jervis is a stable town with safe and clean neighborhoods. A town where after students graduate high school they want to come back to raise their children. I would like to continue to expand our business district down Jersey Ave and up Pike St. The Tri States corridor needs to be a priority also. Often, Tri States is forgotten in the conversation when we talk about revitalization.

Councilperson At Large

Denis Livingston

Denis Livingston for Council member a Large

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

I am a lifelong city resident. I am married to Patricia for 47 years and we have one son Ryan, daughter- in -law Jodi Lyn and 4 grandchildren. I am a very outgoing person who has enjoyed being involved in many civic organizations. I am not afraid to speak up and address the issues at hand. I believe that challenges are to be faced, not feared.

I am a 49-year volunteer fireman where I served as captain, a 55 + year member of the Boy Scouts of America where I served as Vice President, and I am an Eagle Scout. I am a past president of the former Pop Warner football league and vice president of the Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

I am a two term third ward council person and a past Chairman of the Port Jervis Tourism Board.

What motivated you to become a council person?

I am motivated to become a council member at large by my desire to give back to the community. I appreciate the opportunity to help guide our city in a positive manner.

I spearheaded the effort to supply our DPW with the breakroom they desperately needed.

I have served as two terms as a ward council person. I enjoy working with our citizens and our city employees. In the capacity as DPW chairman, I have seen this department professionally perform their tasks and with their talents save our city thousands of dollars. Some of these projects included Pike Street sidewalks and paving, Orange Street, and West End Beach. They do all these projects and still perform their daily jobs.

What issues do you think the city is facing?

A desperate need for affordable housing.

A need to expand our business district.

The need for good paying jobs.

Communication with our citizens about city issues and services.

Building our Fire Department membership.

Any ideas as to how to remedy these?

Affordable housing. There is a desperate need in not only our city but also in the state for affordable housing. The process is in the planning phase for apartments in the downtown area, we must continue to seek the help of the state to find grants and financing for these projects.

I would also like to expand our business district. I would start this process by increasing communication with our residents to see what type of business services they will need. I would work closely with our Community Development Agency to research funding and grants to entice people to invest in our community.

Good paying jobs are so important for our community. We just annexed two commercial properties. By attracting good paying businesses into these parcels, we would help our citizens earn a good living and be able to purchase a home.

Communication for our residents. Since we don’t have a daily newspaper and many of our citizens are not on social media, we need to share information in other ways.

I would like to form a group of local health care providers and a member of the council to help keep our residents informed of their services. I would also like to get a list of all the services available throughout the county. We would get this information to our residents in a newsletter.

Building our Fire Department membership. Our fire department does not have the membership it needs.

We have already started the process to reduce by 10 percent city taxes for volunteer fire department and volunteer ambulance corps members. I will research other non-taxing funding or grants to attract more residents to join those organizations.

My Visions for the city are. I believe our city is in a resurgence. Being involved with the DRI, I would like to see the Riverside Park transformation and all the projects being considered bring tremendous change to our city. Our Outdoor Club continues to improve the trail system, and many other areas of the city. The many events the tourism board are sponsoring, the natural beauty of our city, and the great work by our city departments, I see many more visitors coming to our wonderful city while keeping our small town culture. Along with all this, I believe the two annexed parcels will attract new opportunities for our residents.

Michael Hockenberry

1.If you were to introduce yourself, how would you describe you? Answer: I describe myself as a Hard working home town man who has strong family values and would drop what i am doing to help a friend in need. 2. What motivated you to become a candidate? Answer: Two things motivated me. One being the steady increase in our water/sewer bill and taxes. I feel we are pricing our elderly lifelong residents out of their homes. Two being born 56 years ago and raised here i have seen many changes in our community and would like to give back and help it continue to grow in a positive direction. I have plenty of business experience and civil service experience as well and feel this will help me greatly in my decision making. 3. What issues do you believe the city is facing? Answer: Growth. We have little room to grow, however with the annexation of the properties from the Town of Deerpark we have an opportunity to get some new business in those properties and create some more jobs. This would also add to our tax base and maybe take some of the strain off of our seniors. 4. Any ideas as to how to remedy them? Answer : Find an investor for the annexed property in tri states. A hotel and a food chain would be great. They both create jobs and bring revenue to the city. Because of the close proximity to I84 I feel this would not impact our downtown businesses too much believing this would be used more by people traveling through the area. 5. What is your vision for Port Jervis? Answer : My vision is to keep Port Jervis a small town where people settle down and raise their families in comfort, knowing who their neighbors are, knowing and interacting with law enforcement and being able to speak to their local political representatives when they see them at local events. I would like everyone to have the same opportunities i had when i was raised here. I would also like to see our business district continue to grow and attract new people with new visions to our city while not forgetting about the people who got us here, our seniors. I think we need to look for funding to provide them with a senior center where they can go and enjoy activities, have a good hot meal and reminisce about the good old days. We will all be there some day and this will benefit all of us eventually.

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Oct 25, 2023

Thank You......

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