December 4, 2021

City Republican candidates endorsed

A general contractor with coaching experience and a project consultant who volunteers with a veterans group are among the five Republican candidates for the Cortland Common Council recently endorsed by the Cortland County Republican Committee.

The committee backed the following candidates, according to a news release:
Ward 1 — Wayne Schutt
Ward 3 — William “Bud” Diescher
Ward 4 — Fran Endler
Ward 5 — Wayne “Rob” Rivers
Ward 8 — Tom Michales (incumbent)

The candidates will be running against their Democratic counterparts:
Ward 1 – Samantha Adams
Ward 3 – Mary Clare Pennello
Ward 4 – Patricia Lane
Ward 5 – Seth Thompson
Ward 8 – Melissa Kiser

Schutt is a project consultant at Crown Construction and serves as a member of the Disabled American Veterans Cortland Memorial Chapter 153, he said Thursday. As a volunteer, he’s helped with cooking for the organization’s chicken barbecues and organizing work.

He said people are more important than their party affiliation.

“I feel like I can help represent the people,” he said. “I love the neighborhood I live in. I just want to represent them and make sure they’re desires, needs all make it to city council.”

The biggest item Schutt wants to focus on is the reconfiguration of the Guthrie Cortland Medical Center parking lot and the closing of a part of Alvena Avenue, he said.

Schutt said he wants more details of how things are changing to be brought to the public and how that will affect the ward and city.

Additionally, he wants to be able to work out a way to get more details and information to the public about events impacting the city.

If elected, Schutt said he’d take advice from his grandfather, Richard “Dick” Wilkins, to listen twice before speaking.

“That’s kind of where my head is to serve people,” Schutt said. More so, by representing city residents, he said he hopes they can be comfortable wherever they are in the city.

Rivers said he’s running because there is a lack of interaction between members of the council and city residents.

“I think the people in my ward should know that person,” he said. Rivers is a self-employed general contractor who is an assistant coach with the girls varsity basketball team at Cortland High School.

He also has experience coaching youth football in Homer and the CNY Heat Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, he said.

Beyond having councilpersons be more accessible, Rivers said he’s running because he wants to get more people involved with community events like youth athletics.

“I just feel if we can get more youth programs in the summer, it’s better for us and our community,” he said.

Additionally, he wants to be a part of the process to beautify the city with work like fixing sidewalks and roads.

As a contractor, he’s worked with people from all different backgrounds and viewpoints, which he said will help him as a councilperson.

“We can strive to make Cortland a better place to live,” he said. “Something we can be proud of.”

Also notable, according to the news release from the Republican Committee:

Diescher is in the process of developing a catering business including barbecue grilling. He has coached for sports with the Cortland Youth Bureau and volunteers with community groups.

Endler, an Air Force veteran, owns a home appliance repair business. Additionally, he plays trombone with Dixieland groups and the Old Timers Band.

Michales has served on the Cortland Common Council for the last 13 years and helped the city adopt its law to address abandoned properties.