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Oswego's 5th Ward Common Council seat pits youth versus experience

Gino Geruntino/WRVO

Two candidates from vastly different backgrounds are attempting to become the new voice of Oswego's 5th ward, after Common Councilor Dan Donovan's retirement. It's the only open Common Council race in the November 5 election.

One of those candidates is William "Billy" Barlow, Jr., 23, who is a small business owner and recent graduate of Arizona State University. Barlow, a Republican, says the city could benefit from making Oswego's downtown more vibrant and welcoming to out-of-town visitors.

"We need them to drive through Oswego and say, hey, you know what, maybe next weekend I'll come and we'll spend the day in Oswego," Barlow said. "That means they need to be able to shop in downtown. We have some nice shops downtown right now, but we need more and we need them to be able to walk around and make a day of it."

As for his age, Barlow says it hasn't been an issue.

"Very few people have brought up my age, and it's a fair question," Barlow said. "But 23 is just a number. I don't think I'm a typical 23 year old. Most people are pretty understanding."

Barlow's opponent in the race is Frank Clavelli, Jr., who served as Oswego's 2nd ward Common Council representative during the early 1990s, and is currently a member of the city's Zoning Board of Appeals. Clavelli says he is running for the same reason he did 20 years ago, to bring accountability back to the ward's constituents.

"I got involved then because I wanted to represent the people and I will do the same thing now," Clavelli said. "I will return their calls and I will represent them to the best of my ability. If the needs are still the same, that they need a tree trimmed or a sidewalk repaired, we'll go from there."

Clavelli says that his campaign is based on economic development and other quality of life issues.