Four more years.
Before a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall Wednesday night, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana asked voters to consider him for a second term as he seeks the Republican nomination in a May run against Councilwoman Gerry Fausnaught, the only candidate to toss her hat into the race thus far.
Sounding like a morally centered CEO of a company facing threats all around but showing signs of flourishing, Campana stressed his accomplishments and thanked his family and supporters. He named former city treasurer and councilwoman Carolyn Bullock as his campaign chairwoman.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, followed by his wife and children, are greeted by supporters Wednesday night as they enter the William L. Sechler Community Room at City Hall.
Campana acknowledged the 218 city employees, whom he said have made personal sacrifices in order to keep expenses down.
"The city is a business and it must continue to be run like one," he said.
Campana stressed how the city is not financially distressed, as 30 others in Pennsylvania have been declared.
"We're not one of them," he said. According to an independent audit, financially the city is managed well, he added, and much better off than most cities of its size.
He pointed toward major accomplishments, such as bringing to the downtown a Kohl's department store that should be open in October. But he gave much of the credit to Dr. Tony Cipolla, executive director of the Williamsport Parking Authority, for getting Kohl's here.
Campana further recognized attendees such as Bob Brobson, chairman of the Lycoming County Republican Party, and close friends, such as Dr. Raj Patel and his wife, and former mayors.
While speaking, he frequently looked toward his wife, Sonia and five children, Rosena, Elle, Grace, Caroline and Louie. He also acknowledged his mother, Rose, and sisters, Kathy, Yvonne and Gemma.
Campana stressed public safety and crime prevention as among his top priorities.
He said he believes a safer city is one that will be more likely to become a commercial success.
"Today, as I look back at three years ago, I am happy with the progress that we have made," he said. "The city is safer today than it was three years ago," he added, releasing statistics showing more drug case arrests and promising to provide last year's tally once it is received.
He applauded efforts of law enforcement and citizens' groups such as the Williamsport Crime Commission and crime watch leaders such as Craig Rowles, JR Homler, Sally Wiegand, Jeff Reader, the Welteroth family, Ken Williams, Rick Wyatt and volunteer consultant, former police Chief Curly Jett.
"Our zero tolerance crime plan is working," he said.
He pointed out the effort of former assistant District Attorney Henry "Hank" Mitchell, who is executive director of The Campbell Street Family, Youth and Community Center, where youth are provided alternative options to committing crime.
The mayor said he will continue to urge City Council for more police and surveillance cameras in neighborhoods, not just in parks, to make law enforcement more effective.
"I will ask for that and more again," he said. "And I will keep asking for it again and again, until we solve this problem."
Campana brought out the success thus far of identifying blighted properties and shaming slumlords. He also praised those who clean up their properties and commended the efforts of Codes Administrator Joseph Gerardi.
Campana said he would bring legislation to create a residential tax abatement program to enhance housing through the city for all property owners.
The audience roared when Campana said he supported the Marcellus Shale industry and believed the shale business and environmentalists can work together.
Campana asked for continued support as the city's Central Business District is stimulated for more development and partners with the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, county, state and federal governments.
He promised more in store.
"I have met with numerous independent developers," he said. "I have heard their ideas and dreams and I can tell you there are even more great things in store for us in the future."
The mayor said he would continue with quality of life activities such as the Community Sing, the Easter Egg Hunt in Brandon Park, Williamsport Welcomes the World, the Soap Box Derby, the Christmas tree lighting in Newberry and the expanded Christmas parade.
"My friends, I humbly ask for your support, help, encouragement and prayers," he said looking into the audience to single out various clergy.
His Catholic and Christian faith evident: "May God bless you and may God bless Williamsport."
"He's fought crime, there are no tax increases, he is still working on the situation," said Ron James, a citizen crime fighter and supporter, who introduced Campana.
"It is not the time to get rid of him," James said to thunderous applause.