Two vie for Troy’s Third Ward

TROY — Two residents have thrown their hat in the ring to run for Third Ward city council members.

Current Third Ward council member John Schewser announced he wouldn’t run for another term after serving seven consecutive terms.

Joseph Girolamo and Samuel Pierce were approved as candidates for the Third Ward seat. Whoever wins the May 4 primary will take office next year due to no party opposition in the November general election.

Girolamo, a real estate agent, said he’s qualified to be a council member, using his 35-year career as a corporate trainer experience.

“My career provided me an opportunity to analyze a multitude of problems, then find the root cause, and finally develop cost-effective solutions,” Girolamo said. “I know how to get goals accomplished by working with people at all levels of an organization. As a realtor, I have refined my skills in helping people reach their goals and to negotiate the best possible outcome for all parties.”

Sam Pierce said he’s seeking the office “to benefit my fellow residents of Troy in the Third Ward. As a husband and father, with children growing up in Troy City Schools, I desire to see a continuance of Troy being one of the best communities in the area and for each person to enjoy what our city has to offer.”

Girolamo said he is seeking the office “to serve the needs of the citizens of Troy and in particular the citizens of the Third Ward. The Third Ward is a unique area of the city, with unique infrastructure, unique housing stock, and unique needs.”

Pierce shared his goals as a council member would be centered around communicating and connecting with residents of the Third Ward, quality of life improvements, and being fiscally responsible with residents’ tax dollars.

“I want to hear their stories and learn what improvements they want to continue to see in the Third Ward and in Troy. I have started this process by knocking on doors, talking with residents on porches, mailing notes and information after I am in their neighborhoods. I desire to continue connecting with the residents to know how best to represent them and I want to help strengthen community ties,” Pierce said. “I always want to be cognizant that each dollar spent of Troy citizens’ money represents the hard work and determination of the individuals. I want to make sure that these resources are utilized with good governance and transparency.”

Girolamo’s goals include guiding city growth in the interest of all residents, monitor expenses and maintain and improve downtown Troy and continuing to develop the Great Miami River corridor.

“I want to help guide the city as it continues to grow and flourish in a way that benefits all members of our community,” Girolamo said.

Girolamo said the greatest need for the city of Troy is its downtown viability. He said he would work with Troy Main Street, investors, and other funding sources “to better utilize the second and third floors of these beautiful buildings.” Girolamo also said he’d like to help homeowners make older homes more energy efficient through low-interest loans for insulation, HVAC upgrades, windows, and other improvements. He also said he’d like to help “develop ways of assisting owners of smaller and older homes with the maintenance and improvement of their properties, so Troy continues to have an adequate supply of affordable housing at all price levels.”

Pierce said a need he sees in the Third Ward and in the city of Troy is “to strengthen the bonds of community due to the isolation we have experienced from the pandemic.”

“We need to come together, know the face of kindness, and the goodness of our neighbors,” Pierce said. “In order to do that, we need to begin to connect people together through their shared interests. I have begun to see the face of kindness by talking with the residents and experiencing the warmth of friendship within the Third Ward. I want to continue to hear their concerns and represent them well on the city council. Each resident needs to know that their voice matters to me.”

Pierce said one area of improvement he’d like to see as a council member would be to increase fiscal transparency.

Both Pierce and Girolamo said one area Troy excels in is its variety of community activities and events for residents and visitors.

Pierce said, “Troy continues to display strength in community activities and events. For example, the Strawberry Festival was canceled due to concern over safety with COVID-19. The Troy (Strawberry) Festival Board, city of Troy, and Miami County Public Health came together and instituted the Strawberry Jam, which is a smaller celebration and will make it much easier to follow safety protocols. The outdoor musical events, recreational activities, beauty of neighborhoods, school system, and sports activities are all reasons my family loves the city of Troy and is proud to call it home.”

Girolamo said Troy has great concerts on the Public Square and at Treasure Island and he and his family enjoy the annual Strawberry Festival and he is looking forward to the event being restored “back to full strength.”

“Troy has a great community spirit. I would love for all citizens of Troy to catch that spirit,” Girolamo said.

In what sets him apart from his opponent, Pierce said, “I think Joe and I are both interested in serving Troy well. With my background in healthcare, I am observing needs and wanting to focus on my three priorities: connecting with the people in the Third Ward, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility and transparency.

Girolamo said, “I have experienced firsthand how changes in corporate priorities affect not just individuals but entire communities. I have gone from operating a shovel and a sledgehammer, to wearing a suit and tie into executive offices. I have business and management experience. I can see the big picture, but also understand what the individual person is feeling.”

Girolamo is a resident of South Plum Street. He’s been married to his wife Laura for 41 years. They have two sons and seven grandchildren. He has a bachelor’s degree n economics and a master’s degree in educational media, both from Miami University.

Pierce is a resident of Race Street. He and his wife Amy have three school-age children. He’s a physical therapist assistant and is currently seeking a bachelor of science degree in healthcare management from Franklin University.