JAMESTOWN – A city resident who’s voiced concerns in the past about not enough being done to help families and neighborhoods in the city says that’s why she’s decided to run for the Ward 2 seat on the Jamestown City Council.
Resident Raven Mason has attended council meetings the past two years and on occasion has voiced concerns with the city and how it interacts with residents. In 2017 she attended a meeting and said city officials needed to work harder at encouraging and participating in public discourse with constituents. She also said city representatives should work harder at getting feedback from residents before weighing in on controversial issues like the BPU substation annexation case with the town of Ellicott.
Mason said she’s now running for city council because of family experiences she’s dealt with personally and wanting to now be a voice for other local families.
“Why I’m running is based on seeing that families can have a voice in the community. It seems that even more than just revitalizing downtown, we should be revitalizing our families and neighborhoods and one stems from the other,” Mason said. ” I’m not a politician but I want to be a part of the progress in seeing change within the governing body and I believe in order to see that I need to be in it.”
Mason said that if she were elected, she would not only be a voice for residents in the entire city, but also work to address specific issues within the ward.
“Lakeview Avenue looks great, but when I look over at Winsor Street – I have personal friends who say they have moved out of the area, they have moved out of Ward 2, because it’s been known as ‘the hood.’ I would hate to see not just Ward 2 but Jamestown in general be known as ‘the hood.’ But that’s the reputation it’s time to change that. Why should any particular area be labeled that?”
If Mason is to have her name appear on the ballot in November as a Republican candidate, she will have to knock off long-time councilman Tony Dolce. Dolce is the senior-ranking member of the council, having served since the 1990s. He’s also the current chair of the city finance committee and has already received the endorsement of the Jamestown Republican Committee.
Mason said she knows it will be a challenge to pull off a primary upset against an experienced council member like Dolce, but adds that she feels she is capable and qualified for the office.
“I can’t argue his experience and nor would I try. But what my experience brings to the table is my personal life experience, whether it’s been a tragedy, I see it as a triumph because I see opportunity from it. I see now where there have been some desperate needs in my community that if I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t have known. I wouldn’t have known that we have such a high rate of child abuse in our county. So from that standpoint, I think most of the time its passion and its life experience that says that we are qualified,” Mason said.
Both Mason and Dolce are currently circulating petitions in Ward 2 in order to collect the required number of signatures to run as a Republican. If both are able to get an estimated 30 signatures from registered Republicans within the ward by the April 4 deadline they will square off in a June 25 primary.