GENEVA — City Republicans have released their slate of candidates, and it’s topped by Mark Pitifer, who had previously confirmed his candidacy for mayor.

Pitifer, who has received the endorsement of the city Republican Committee, will face off against Democrat Steve Valentino in November

“I and my slate of candidates all feel that Geneva is a beautiful city that is going in the right direction, and we intend to focus on and finish the $20 million in great projects that are currently under way,” said Pitifer, a middle school counselor in the Waterloo School District since 1985 and a longtime high school track and basketball coach in Geneva and Waterloo. “We also feel that we have a wonderful city staff working for us and that our police force and firefighters who protect us are some of the finest in the entire world.

“Although we have many good things happening in our city at this time, I believe we can do better by getting all of the people of the city engaged. At the end of this next election, we can have up to nine new council members, and I believe my skill set as a counselor is tailor-made to make this a smooth transition. My greatest strength as a counselor and a coach is relationship building. It’s the secret of my success and something I’ve been doing my whole life.”

Ethel Peters, chair of the city Republican Committee, said the City GOP is “very proud of Pitifer and the diverse slate of candidates assembled for the city council.”

They are:

Councilor-at-large: Frank Gaglianese and Ben Vasquez;

Ward 1: Antonio Gomez;

Ward 2: Bill Peale Jr.;

Ward 3: Don Cass;

Ward 4: Evelyn Buisch;

Ward 5: Bryan Housel;

Ward 6: John Pruett.

Pitifer said he considers himself a free thinker, and noted that he has never belonged to any political party.

“I always listen to what all of the candidates have to say, and then I vote for the one who inspires me the most,” he said. “A big part of my decision to run for mayor of Geneva was to focus not on party, but on the good people of Geneva.”

He said not being affiliated with a party allows him to “simply represent the needs of the people.”

Pitifer said he knows a major concern of residents is high taxes, “and we’ll tackle that, but we have to look at the whole picture. It’s not enough to focus in on one area like cutting your way to lower taxes. I don’t believe that can be done. We need to have housing available in the city for all levels to attract people here, we need to be as efficient as possible, we need to get Geneva national attention as a tourist destination, we need to examine ways to raise more revenue, and we need to work together with the Town of Geneva because I believe we both can benefit by working together. People from Geneva and all over are enjoying our beautiful lakefront and the new Welcome Center. We need to continue that and improve it in all ways that we are able.”

Pitifer said he won’t be engaging in negative campaigning, and that Council will conduct itself in the best manner if he is elected mayor.

“I promise you that the City Council will do what is best for all people in the city,” he said. “Any effort to bully, be rude, mean-spirited, or grandstanding behavior for political purposes, like that which is often seen at the national level, hinders our progress for the people of this city and will not be tolerated in any manner. The people of Geneva, especially our life-long residents, deserve our very best efforts. I can also assure you that I will not take part in or support any sort of negative campaign tactics.”

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