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Republican James Amo seeks City Council seat

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Republican James R. Amo is hoping the strong showing he got in 2011 as an Ogdensburg City Council candidate will launch him to victory a second time around.

Mr. Amo announced Tuesday he is again vying for a council seat. In 2011 as a political newcomer, he narrowly lost a six-way battle for three open seats, garnering 1,021 votes. That total was a little more than 100 votes shy of beating Councilwoman Jennifer Stevenson.

Not bad for his first time out, he said, and he hopes city residents will come out in bigger numbers to support him this time around.

First and foremost, Mr. Amo said, he wants residents to have a stronger voice in city government.

“Some of the people I’ve talked to don’t feel their concerns are being heard,” he said. “Some people say they’ve called city officials or inquired by things and were told they would be brought up at council meetings, but nothing was ever said. If people have concerns, I can guarantee they will be brought up to the council. If there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll do it.”

Mr. Amo said he also would like to see the city do a better job of marketing vacant properties to get them back on the tax rolls. He said the city’s waterfront has a great deal of untapped potential for residential and business development.

“We need to encourage outside businesses to come to the city and show them some of the commercial properties we have vacant along the river,” he said. “I’m not saying the city’s not doing this, but citizens feel they’re not doing enough to recruit outside business as well as they could. We have to kick it up a notch.”

The city’s effort to draw more tourists could also be enhanced, he said. One way to bring in more traffic to the city is to re-establish a city beach.

“The city pool is nice, but a lot of people miss jumping into the St. Lawrence River. There’s nothing like bringing the kids down to sit on a sandy beach for a picnic and swim,” he said. “It’s actually a detriment to Ogdensburg to be a city and not have a beach. Lisbon has one. Waddington has one. But we have waterfront all over the place and we don’t have a beach.”

Mr. Amo is a 1991 Ogdensburg Free Academy graduate who served 20 years on the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad. He currently serves on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

“I just started my second term on the zoning board, and I am the only member who has never missed a meeting,” he said. “They can count on me.”

He has operated a private security business for the last seven years, and worked in 2005 as a Norwood Village Police officer. Mr. Amo has served as a past noble grand at International Order of Odd Fellows Seaway Lodge No. 41 and is a past member of Ogdensburgh Acacian Lodge No. 123 Free and Accepted Masons. He and his wife, Heather, have an 8-year-old son, Jordan.

“If we continue to decline at the rate we’re declining, you’re going to see more and more property in the city for sale,” he said. “We have to do something.”

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