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ENDORSEMENT: Council needs a new attitude

Dunkirk Democrats have an important say in a primary race for Common Council First Ward that pits incumbent Don Williams Jr. against newcomer Natalie Luczkowiak.

Williams, as has been noted in this newspaper, has been a polarizing figure within the local party over the last two years. Not only did he flip-flop on Dave Campola, former human resources coordinator in the city, first voting to approve his hiring in 2018 and then backing a termination two years later, he also has trust issues.

As the first vice chair of the Democrats in 2019, Williams was under-handedly and quietly campaigned against fellow Democrat and incumbent city Mayor Wilfred Rosas. In addition, in the 2020 race for county executive, he endorsed Republican incumbent PJ Wendel for the position in his race against Democrat Richard Morrisroe.

Some will praise his bipartisan spirit. But these actions are exactly the reason he has not received the city party’s endorsement.

Luczkowiak, a newcomer who also is endorsed by the Working Families Party, has a bright outlook on just about everything. However, she is a bit too enthusiastic when it comes to the city.

There is nothing wrong with that, but we need a bit of a balance when it comes to a reality check. Dunkirk, through Rosas’ leadership has made strides. He’s strengthened the industrial corridor through relationships with Refresco and Wells Enterprises that oversees the Fieldbrook Foods plant. However, major problems remain — especially in the downtown business district that often is filled with empty storefronts and a lack of traffic.

Luczkowiak, for her part, is far from polished as a politician. She’s still learning the issues and appears overly loyal to Rosas, which is the opposite of what is happening with the current council.

Early voting in the June 22 primary begins on Saturday. Democrats have reason to be skeptical of Williams, who has constantly sided in the last 18 months with a Republican-backed council while creating havoc within the party.

That’s not, as Williams likes to tout, putting people above politics. That’s an effort to create a divide within a party that worked for and backed his first three elections.

Common Council and Williams — who holds a super-majority vote — have promoted a toxic atmosphere in the city. Luczkowiak, at least, deserves a chance to change that attitude.

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