UTICA, N.Y. - Utica Mayoral candidates, candidates for Utica Common Council President and those running for the Utica Common Council at Large were all invited to a forum at the West Utica Senior and Community Center.
The forum was the last chance for these candidates to speak to voters about their platforms and what they want to do for the city. It was also a chance for voters to ask these candidates their own questions ahead of election day.
Incumbent Mayor Rob Palmieri, Joe Marino, and Matt Arcuri, who are all running for Utica Mayor were invited to the forum. Marino was the only one of the three that showed.
Current council president Michael Galime and challenger Judy Galimo were invited, only Galime attended.
Frank DiBrango, Jack LoMedico, Mark Williamson, Michael Gentile, Hanka Grabovica, and Stephen Keblish, the six candidates running for council at large were invited. DiBrango and LoMedico were the only ones who did not attend the forum out of the six.
A handful of residents asked questions at the forum, but a lot of focus was on communication between city government and residents, many residents expressing the need for more transparency and community investment.
There was about two dozen residents in attendance. One resident says she thought the forum was beneficial.
"I was really impressed with the way the evening was run, it was really professionally facilitated, they kept to their timing, everything was great and also the candidates all seemed like real approachable people," Cimbria Badenhausen said. "If I'd not been told what the lines were for them, I wouldn't have known whether they were democrat, republican, independent. I really felt like most burning concern for them is the people of Utica and bringing prosperity to everyone in the community and I really appreciated that."
Another person who was at the forum was Venus Reddick, who proclaims herself as a write-in candidate for Utica mayor. The organizers of the forum allowed her to sit with the other candidates and answer questions from the audience.
All of the candidates at the forum promised to have better communication with the residents in Utica if elected or re-elected. The candidates also talked about the need for more youth programs in the city.