OSWEGO — Republican Andrew Hall is aiming to flip the First Ward, running a campaign he says banks on his availability and willingness to listen to constituents’ concerns.

Hall, who is 23 and a lifelong resident of the Port City’s First Ward, announced his candidacy earlier this year noting his involvement in the community led him to make the decision to challenge Democratic incumbent Susan McBrearty.

“I am looking forward to getting the youth involved at a young age,” Hall said. “Helping them get involved in local politics will help the city in the future. If I can do my part now, it'll help later on.”

As an employee of the Oswego County Highway Department, infrastructure is something he wants to focus on, as he noted the current state of roads has been a subject of conversation when he talks to ward residents.

“The main concern of residents has been roads. Everybody I talk to says we have to focus on the roads,” Hall told The Palladium-Times Sunday.

Code enforcement is another thing Hall would like to hone in on.

“Some properties in the area are not up to code and residents say it is not fair to them,” Hall noted. “Everyone puts in their time and effort and they say it is not fair to live next to a property in disrepair like that.  We need to hold landlords or property owners accountable for their properties with higher rate for fines.”

Hall added that he wants to work closer with city Department of Public Works officials to expedite work orders for residents in his area.  

Above all, however, Hall said his job at the county Highway Department would help him tackle potholes on First Ward roads, an issue he said is atop many residents’ lists concerns.

“That would be like goal number one,” he said of the state of the roads, adding going down Seneca Street “feels like a roller coaster.” 

Reflecting on the campaign trail, Hall said the process of knocking on doors has “definitely been a challenge” but feels it has been “a good step forward” for his young political career.

“I feel I can bring a lot because I am so young and I have a good knowledge of the First Ward,” he said. “I would like to bring the community together and to be a voice for them. I want them to know that I am there for them. I am going to do what I can to help them out and satisfy their needs.”

On the city’s waterfront, Hall said recent economic grants to local lakeshore infrastructure would prove to be a boon to the Port City’s economy.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the counties of Oswego and Cayuga would receive $43 million for the strengthening of Lake Ontario shoreline infrastructure, as well as economic development.

One of the largest projects approved  — to the tune of $6.1 million — is the overhaul to Oswego’s Wright’s Landing Marina, located in the city’s First Ward. The project would entail the assessment of flood damage, redesigning the docks and slips, as well as the raising of areas of the marina susceptible to flooding and creating a new pedestrian boardwalk. 

“It is going to help out with the water levels and preparedness in trying to get a jump on potential damages —so that when the flood happens in the future — we won’t have issues,” Hall said of the project. “It is definitely a big help.” 

As election day draws near, Hall said he wanted to thank residents of his ward for their time and added he wants to continue the city’s current forward progress.

“I will stand up for the constituents and I will be there be a voice for them,” he said. “I will back them as far as I can go. We are stronger as a community and the city is going in the right direction, I would like to keep it going that way.”

Election Day is Nov. 5.

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