City Council District 7 candidate interviews

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And now we turn to the final contested race for Binghamton City Council this year.

District 7 covers the Eastside and a small section of the Northside.

The race pits the current Councilman, Republican Tom Scanlon, against Democrat Salka Valerio.

Scanlon, who took office in 2017 following a special election to fill an unexpired term, is currently the Council President.

A lifelong resident of Binghamton, Scanlon and his wife have lived on the Eastside for thirty years and have two grown children.

He’s also worked for Broome Bituminous for thirty years.

Scanlon was a member of the Binghamton City School Board for seven years prior to being elected to Council.

He says the most important issues facing the district are crime, paved roads and property taxes.

Scanlon says he’d like to hire more Binghamton police officers if the city can afford it.

And he supports infrastructure projects in the district such as the reconstruction of Robinson Street, upgrades to Fairview Park and efforts to mitigate flash flooding.

Scanlon says the city has improved a lot under the leadership of Mayor Rich David.

“He’s lowered the property tax three years in a row. It’s never easy to lower taxes obviously, they were raised quite a bit during the previous administration, so we’re trying to get them back in line to where they should be,” Scanlon says.

Salka Valerio has lived in Binghamton for the past eleven years.

She works as a victim advocate at Crime Victims Assistance Center in its Safe Harbour program which promotes awareness and identification of youth trafficking, and supports at-risk youth.

She also sits on the local board for Citizen Action, has done community organizing with Progressive Leaders Of Tomorrow and is a committee member for the annual Juneteenth celebration.

Valerio says the biggest issues in the district are the need for affordable, safe housing and a remedy to flash flooding issues.

She’d like to see vacant and abandoned buildings renovated into apartments for low-income families.

Valerio says she’s an atypical candidate with fresh eyes and a young perspective.

She says that as the city becomes more diverse, so should City Council.

The single mother says she wants to make the city a better place for her son.

“I have a son that is growing up in this area. I want to see changes for the youth here. We should invest more in the Youth Bureau, making sure that our youth have activities that keep them safe and also grow and become the next leaders of Binghamton,” says Valerio.

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