Re-election Campaign Announcement February 18, 2021 I am here today to announce that I am thrilled to be running for re-election to the Utica Common Council to continue to represent the people of the South Utica. I was elected in November 2019 and sworn in January 1st, 2020. The year since has been one of the most exciting and satisfying years of my life. Being chosen by the people of South Utica to bring their voices and their votes to City Hall has been an exceptional privilege and I am very grateful.
In the past year, I’ve introduced legislation that helps all of us. A Garbage Ordinance that protects our neighborhoods. A Rent Relief Resolution that helped provide at least $500,000 in direct rent relief to tenants and landlords. Rules regarding legislative process that help the Council to operate more openly and effectively. Working with my colleagues on the Common Council, we made several improvements to the City’s new Zoning Ordinance, important for the City’s future. (Kudos to Commissioner Brian Thomas and everyone in his Department for all the work they did on this.) I introduced and passed a Resolution to allow for Public Comment online until the public is allowed to return to Council Chambers. I stayed in regular touch with my Constituents and anyone interested in Utica. I sent out over a dozen email Newsletters explaining my votes and keeping people up to date with all things Utica. Constituents reach out to me regularly and I help them with all sorts of issues, helping to get trees and tree stumps removed, arranging for the repainting of crosswalks, filling potholes, making sure sidewalks are kept clear, and many more things.
One of the first things I did as a Representative of South Utica was to respond to the terrible floods that happened on Halloween night, 2019. I held multiple meetings with people who had been hurt by the flooding. I learned all that I could about why flooding happens and how to mitigate against it. The City rejoined the Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission and I now go to their monthly meetings. I helped to make sure that people whose homes had been damaged were able to access funds to help them recover. I worked with the Department of Engineering to understand how the infrastructure works and communicated to my Constituents all the work the City has done to improve our storm drains, catch basins, and so on.
Moving forward, there is much work to be done, and I am excited and ready for what lies ahead. I intend to establish a Citizen Advisory Board, made up of Third Ward residents who can inform and guide me. Write a new regular mid-month Newsletter called “How Utica Works” that helps all of us to better understand how our government functions. Continue to work on quality of life issues such as keeping Master Garden Road closed to vehicle traffic one day a week. Support complete streets policies. Turn the Uptown area of South Utica into a cultural and economic hub that all of Utica can enjoy. Establish a citizen board to ensure that neighbors have a say in the future of St Elizabeth’s hospital. All of these add up to continuing to build a robust democracy in which we all have a say and we are all involved in the life of our wonderful little city.
I look forward to our campaign for re-election. Anyone who wants to join us as we work to rebuild democracy here in Utica is welcome to volunteer for our campaign and donate as well. There is much work to be done, but I love to work. I hope that I continue to deserve the support of the people of South Utica.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Celeste Friend (315) 725-5987 / firstname.lastname@example.org The Committee to Elect Celeste Friend invites you to a Virtual Press Conference. Subject: Announcement of Re-election Bid for a Second Term Date: February 18, 2021 Time: 12 PM, Virtual Room opens at 11:50 AM Join the Virtual Press Conference: us02web.zoom.us/j/88302546417
Councilperson Celeste Friend Announces Re-election Bid And Promises to Bring Your Voice, Your Vote to City Hall
SOUTH UTICA, NY---Celeste Friend announces her bid for a second term on the Utica Common Council. She intends to continue to bring the voices and votes of residents of South Utica to City Hall. “This past year, serving as the representative for the people of South Utica has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. I hope to be given the opportunity to continue to serve as their voice in City Hall.” Celeste has demonstrated a consistent attention to Constituent Services, whether it is responding to flooding, code violations, or neighborhood concerns that find themselves brought before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).
Regarding a ZBA variance for yet another convenience store in the Third Ward, Celeste knocked on doors to convince neighbors to make their voices known to the Board. “When I canvassed the neighborhood yesterday I could not find a single person who would support granting a variance.” Tyson Kreiger made his voice heard, and said of Celeste, “Thanks for asking me. This was the first time I ever spoke on anything like this and it feels good!” The variance for this convenience store was denied. Celeste responded “It is so important to continue to build community so that your voices are successfully heard!”
Celeste’s monthly Newsletters continue to inform residents of South Utica of important issues, her independent votes on the Council allow her constituents' voices to be heard, and her door to door canvassing in the neighborhoods allows her to listen and grow CommUNITY and OpportUNITY in South Utica. As Celeste says “My Newsletters and other efforts to communicate directly with the people of the Third Ward are always well received. They are work, but that work is definitely worth it.”
Going forward, Celeste will continue to work with Council members to address quality of life, flood mitigation, street paving, and economic development in South Utica.