Antonio Gomez is vying for a spot at City Council in Ward 1 under the Republican Party.
Gomez, a produce supervisor and manager at Peterson Farms, pastor for the Church of God in Farmington and former appointee to the Geneva Human Rights Commission was also an undocumented immigrant who possessed heartfelt aspirations to one-day achieve the American dream.
“I entered the United States illegally but I really didn’t care anyway. I knew I was breaking the law, but I knew I was just praying that something good would happen,” Gomez said.
In an effort to escape the conflict spewing from the Guatemala Civil War, Gomez fled from his homeland to America and eventually ended-up as a farmworker in a cabbage field within the Finger Lakes.
His mentor, Edward Hansen owner of Hansen Farms told Gomez, “You don’t have the knowledge, but you have the eagerness to learn.”
Years later, Hansen taught Gomez supervisor skills, becoming a farm manager and produce supervisor, who oversees the planting and harvesting of crops.
Soon after, he departed from Hansen Farms and was hired by Peterson Farms.
A proud man of faith as a pastor for the Church of God, Gomez affirms that his religion has guided him to Geneva to help those who encountered similar obstacles in life.
Gomez believes that Geneva is assisting the migrant labor population and he promises to continue advocating on behalf of farmworkers.
As a former member on the Board of Directors with Community Migrant Health Network, Gomez mentioned how medical health services would be provided to migrant farmworkers on-site, recalling that he was “one of those guys back in 1995.”
“But Geneva has been a place where they have found a sport,” Gomez stated.
If elected, Gomez says that he has three key issues of interest to pursue.
He seeks to unify the city’s marginalized communities; cut taxes and cultivate greater fiscal responsibility as well as create better relationships between law enforcement personnel and citizens through enhancing neighborhood safety.
“At an early I learned the principle of valuing of money because I grew up without anything. I was raised with a single mother with three children and my mother could decide to abort me or throw me in a ditch and just leave me there like many women do just because they don’t want the responsibility; and so, my mother decided to tie-up her skirt and work for us, so I knew how important was money,” he explained.
At the age of nine, Gomez was an avid worker, giving his mother whatever he earned while attending school; and he believes that his entrepreneurial spirit and experience in managing finances makes him an electable candidate.
“I don’t anyone in my pockets,” he added.
But he also wants to bring attention and accountability to Ontario County about how Geneva hosts refuge for minorities and lower-income classes, which places an additional tax burden on residents.
“Even other cities have taken advantage of that and they have used Geneva as a refuge; and I think yea, you want to use this as a refuge, but its gonna cost you,” he continued.
However, Gomez desires to be a “gap opener and door opener” for disenfranchised residents, including those who have suffered from discrimination, something that he has experienced first-hand.
“In the multitude of council, there is victory. I would represent them well,” he said.
“I believe Geneva has potential and it has to live-up to its name; and I think we can be more effective and more efficient with the way we are doing business. We need to treat our city as a business,” Gomez concluded.
Listen to the full-conversation with Gomez below:
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to WEOS and WHWS Station Manager Greg Cotterill for sharing Geneva Candidate Snapshots with FingerLakes1.com.
More from ‘Candidate Snapshot’ series exclusively on FingerLakes1.com:
– Juanita Aikens looks to bring better representation to Geneva City Hall (Ward 6)
– Bryan Housel brings public safety background to campaign for Geneva City Council (Ward 5)
– Pitifer takes life journey onto Geneva mayoral campaign trail (Mayor)
– Salamendra targets change through more than activism (Ward 5)
– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio
An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at [email protected].