Vote Merril for Mayor
of the Great City of Binghamton:
Commonsense Leadership for Tough Times!
Binghamton was always a beautiful hybrid offering the best of all worlds: a metropolitan cultural center, a hub for technology and defense, green industry and opportunity, rural beauty, a world-class public university, an economy that enjoyed decades immune to the ups and downs of more vulnerable areas, and a community of families, businesses and services that produced stability and upward mobility for generations.
Joe Merrill can reclaim the great Binghamton tradition built by Binghamton men and women who turned their dreams into a resilient, vibrant community that was the "jewel between the Susquehanna and the Chenango."
Some people might say that Binghamton's severe economic hardships and security challenges are typical of communities around our great country and even around the world. That isn't good enough. Binghamton has a long tradition of remaining vibrant and secure despite hardships within and beyond the Southern Tier.
What is the difference now? Why are the citizens of Binghamton struggling when a thoroughly predictable economic downturn struck the city so hard?
The answer is clear: The current leadership is indecisive and inadequate, continuing to run the city as if it was the 1990s.
21st century Binghamton deserves leadership that offers clear vision, careful planning and decisive action. The city can leverage every resource, involve every citizen, galvanize its entrepreneurial spirit, create dynamic private-public partnerships thru this crisis and into a bright, sustainable future.
In his role as Municipal Clerk, Joe has listened to and served countless citizens of Binghamton. He has seen how the current leadership is fragmented and unfocused, investing resources in isolated efforts but never creating or completing the big picture of Binghamton now, or in the future.
Before Joe chose to serve his city in government, he served his country alongside the bravest men and women in the world. In his role as City Clerk, he discovered that the people of Binghamton inspired him the same way: To lead with vision and values, to listen with clarity and purpose, to protect and share resources and to exceed all expectations for excellence.
I've known Joe Merrill for 10 years, when we were in Army ROTC together at Georgetown University. But, I wanted to reach beyond the Joe I've known to capture different perspectives of the man and leader he's become.
Here's what some of his friends and colleagues said:
"I volunteered TWICE to go overseas and into combat with him, and with very good reason. His competence as a leader is unequaled by any other officer that I've known in my ten years in the Army. He not only has the knowledge that it takes to lead, but he also listens to the advice of his subordinates and will admit when he is wrong. He has always stuck up for those he leads, regardless of the outcome for him. I know that when he says he'll do something, he'll do everything in his power to make it happen." -- Army infantry Sgt. Mickey Caster
"The job of City Clerk requires organizational skills, leadership, attention to detail, and the ability to interact with the public on a daily basis. Joe Merrill possesses all of these skills and exhibits them on a daily basis.
A City Clerk has to simultaneously plan for effective staffing of Council Meetings, quality support of Council Members when dealing with department heads or constituents, and proper administration of the office that serves the public five days per week.
In addition to those duties, Municipal Clerks have to be ready to make multiple decisions within minutes of receiving some of the most limited information.
During the course of a business day, your focus may have to change literally every time the door opens or the phone rings. Joe is adept at effectively managing his staff through changing demands and an environment that is, by necessity, in a state of constant flux.
Joe has mastered the art of leadership and has been an effective City Clerk. I wholeheartedly support Joe's vision of Binghamton, and firmly believe he is the right candidate to serve as Mayor in these precarious times. As a result, I am actively working for his effort to become the next Mayor of the City of Binghamton. I have no doubt that he will be an effective leader and manager of the City's nearly 600 employees and 47,000 residents." -- Eric S. Denk, City Clerk, City of Binghamton 2004-2007
"I knew Joe Merrill at Georgetown University Army ROTC. He was a year ahead of me, and I saw him as a great leader and amazing friend. The other cadets viewed him as a source of emulation yet humble enough to easily approach. I became friends with Joe and remember him talking about wanting to make a difference in the community and public arena. His ability to make others feel secure and confident proves his ability to lead and inspire. - Capt. (ret.) Amanda Moore Smith, USA
"I was tasked out from the 1-69th Infantry to the 2-108th Infantry Battalion during my first tour in Samarra, Iraq in 2003, and was assigned to the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company. From my experience, it is very rare to come upon a leader that not only commands respect beyond his rank but is also approachable, realistic and in tune with the needs of his subordinates. I volunteered to redeploy again in 2008 to Afghanistan under his command because I trusted him, had faith in him as a leader and saw what he was capable of even in the most unfavorable of combat situations." - Spec. Martin Wicklow, USA
Since I've always been curious about relationships and character, I asked Joe to describe why he loves his fiancé, Katie Johnson:
And, I asked Katie to describe how she feels about Joe:
"I met Katie shortly after getting back from Iraq. Our first date was to a military ball where I was awarded my first Bronze Star. Like so many couples say when they know they have met the right one for them, we understood each other immediately...and she instantly bonded with my dog, Jake. Four years later, I have to admit, he is now her dog. That's okay with me, though. I understand why he loves her so.
Katie stuck with me through another combat tour in Afghanistan, and continues to support me in my military career.
She also supports me in my civilian endeavors. Katie has put up with me working in politics, sharing my devotion to the principles of the Democratic Party and working on other people's campaigns before turning my attention to my own campaign for Mayor.
Very simply, we are a great team.
Early in my life, I decided to join or create great teams, take on great challenges, and hold myself accountable to produce great results. From combat to politics, community life and private life, I do everything with the same level of commitment and attention to detail that brought me and those I served with to, through and home from war. Nothing could prepare me better to serve at such a pivotal time in the history of our country and our city."
"Joe has drive. He feels it is his duty and his privilege to do something about the issues. He does not complain. He listens, he researches, he includes other people, and he acts. He monitors his results, changes course when necessary, listens to many different opinions...Basically, he is both open-minded and decisive.
He is what my mom and dad would call 'a good man.' Respectful and kind, he never takes himself too seriously, and puts the wellbeing of others ahead of his own needs. His love of country is matched only by his love for family, community and people. For Joe, life is a team effort, and everyone is welcome to participate.
I waited for him through his deployment, stand beside him through his campaign and will walk with him from the alter after our upcoming wedding. It has been and always will be an honor and a joy to be by his side, now and always. Thanks for letting me share a little of why this remarkable man is my choice for a life partner, and should be every citizen's choice for the next Mayor of the Binghamton!
Follow Luis Carlos Montalván on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LuisMontalvan