Two WNY mayor-elects to make history as youngest mayors elected in respective municipalities

"I noticed there were a lot of younger people not so involved."
Tylec (City of North Tonawanda) and Ruda (Village of Lancaster)
Posted at 8:16 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 14:21:56-05

CITY OF NORTH TONAWANDA & VILLAGE OF LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — Come January 1, two mayor-elects in Western New York will make history in being the youngest to be elected, in their respective municipalities.

Before they are sworn in 7ABC sat down with the two before they embark on a path of change.

Young people have regularly shown that their voices matter, this has been proven through the Black Lives Matter movement, women's rights movement, and so on.

City of North Tonawanda Municipal Building

Because of the lack of younger people in government, these two leaders plan to encourage younger people to not only take their voices to the streets, but also the polls and convince their peers to vote and advance change where legal discussions happen.

"I was active in the community. I noticed there were a lot of younger people not so involved,” City of North Tonawanda mayor-elect Austin Tylec said.

City of North Tonawanda mayor-elect Austin Tylec

Austin Tylec is 29, and Lynne Ruda is 35. They are both the youngest mayors to ever be elected in their respective town’s office. Ruda is also the first female mayor elected for the Village of Lancaster.

Village of Lancaster mayor-elect Lynne Ruda explained, “Working to be the first female mayor, I felt like I was really adamant on running a positive campaign. I talked about that with everyone who supported me. I'm not going negative. I want to try and win on my own merit."

"I ran a very clean campaign, as I did as alderman. I always felt that doing smear adds, spending tens of thousands of individuals money who donates towards a candidate, towards swear campaigns is ridiculous,” Tylec said.

Village of Lancaster mayor-elect Lynne Ruda

With t-minus 12 days before these two officially take office, they express they plan to hit the ground running. For starters, both leaders plan to increase tourism.

“Lots to do,” Ruda said. “We also have 10,000 residents that we're responsible for and really making it a place that they are proud to call home, and that's not as glamorous. That's infrastructure. That's sidewalks. That's sewers. Making sure that they have a good working services is a priority."

Village of Lancaster Municipal Building

As for Tylec, who has had eyes and ears in the council by serving as alderman for the last four years says his focus is on finance.

That was a huge concern when the New York State comptroller came out with an audit, a couple of years ago, addressing some of the issues we had with our finances, and sort of long-term planning,” Tylec said. "Developing was another huge piece of focus. Right now, we just received a $10M grant through the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) and that's through Governor Kathy Hochul.”

Leading a city and keeping their day jobs as an architect and music teacher, will be a challenging task but one that these two think is important for positive change in their communities.

"As I was growing up, it was a lot of empty storefronts. Having to go to a different community to shop and eat because there were really no opportunities to do so, Ruda said. "right now, we're even working on our zoning, so we have the plan, the construction and the development that's happening now."