Two more contenders enter Woodstock's mayor's race

·3 min read

With the deadline for nominations a month away, two more candidates, a city councillor and a business owner, have filed to make mayoral runs in Woodstock this fall.

Jerry Acchione, a two-term city councillor, and Anthony Scalisi, owner of Woodstock’s Water Shop, are the most recent candidates to throw their hats in the ring. The two are up against David Hilderley, a realtor and retired educator, who announced in early May he’d compete for the top job.

A city councillor for eight years, Acchione said a bid for mayor “always has been in the back of my mind.”

“There’s been a real lack of leadership lately here in the City of Woodstock, and now is the time.”

Acchione was first elected to council in 2014, serving as deputy mayor in 2017 and again in 2019. Apart from municipal politics, Acchione has worked at Anderson’s Automotive Group Inc. in Woodstock for more than 20 years and is an active volunteer in the community. He served as an Oxford OPP auxiliary unit member for 13 years before retiring last October.

Acchione cited strong leadership as his top priority, saying politicians have a commitment to be transparent with residents. He also stressed the importance of building affordable housing, addressing homelessness, providing more opportunities to youth and retirees, and supporting local businesses.

“If we want successful downtowns, we have to have people supporting them,” Acchione said, adding his experience on council has prepared him to lead plans to tackle the city’s current and future needs.

“I know where we’re lacking, where the funding is going, where to ask for the funding and what to do with it.”

Like Acchione, Scalisi cited housing, transparency, and the revitalization of Woodstock’s downtown as key areas on which he’d like to focus during his campaign.

If elected, he said, “I would like to communicate more with the public and maybe, have a meeting every six months or so to discuss where we’re going and what the future looks like.”

Another issue Scalisi would address is public safety in the downtown.

Prior to opening his retail water equipment supply store in 2018, Scalisi spent 17 years working for the provincial government in different roles, at times as an electronics technician and in IT project management.

His “family had a very deep history in Woodstock,” immigrating to the Friendly City in the early 1900s, Scalisi said. His family owned five fruit stores on Dundas Street, the first opening around 1900 and the last closing in 1992.

He believes his family ties, combined with his “innovative ideas,” make him a strong candidate for mayor.

Mayoral, council and school board candidates have until Aug. 19 to register their names. Voters head to the polls on Oct. 24.

Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birtch, who faces sexual assault allegations and charges involving two women, has not said whether he will seek another term in office. Birtch, 47, was granted a paid leave of absence in late April.

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press

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