TOWN OF SALINA – Stella Penizotto, the co-owner of Shining Stars Day Care Centers, has announced that she will run against Salina Town Supervisor Nick Paro this year.
Penizotto and Paro are both Republicans.
A political newcomer, Penizotto is gathering signatures on a petition to force a Republican primary on June 27 for the supervisor’s race. She’s also seeking the Conservative Party endorsement and is willing to force a primary there as well.
Town of Salina Democrats have yet to announce their candidates for town offices this year. Town Democratic Party Chairman Christopher Shepherd does not anticipate a primary in his party.
In 2021, Paro was elected Salina town supervisor with 3,157 votes to beat Democrat Kathy Zabinski who drew 2,176 votes.
Penizotto said she believes that being a town official should not be a Republican versus Democrat issue.
“Sadly, we all see there is a lot of division and disagreement in the world around us,” she wrote in a Feb. 3 letter to her supporters. “But just like raising and caring for children, politics should never come into play for what’s in the best interest for the community and the future of our children, ever.”
After immigrating from Italy in 1970, Penizotto was raised in Syracuse., residing in the town of Salina for over 27 years with her husband and business partner, John.
The couple and their family plan to be a lifetime residents.
Although she has never before run for an elected position, she said, “I have been heavily engaged in politics and was on the Onondaga County Republican Committee for years.”
For his part, Paro seems unfazed by the challenge.
“I’ve been endorsed by the town of Salina Republican Party and the town of Salina Conservative Party,” he said. “And I’ve received the endorsements from both parties in every campaign I have run.”
Paro, who was an analyst for the Onondaga County Legislature, served a term as Salina’s First Ward councilor from 2019 to 2021.
The Penizottos opened Shining Stars Day Care Center in 1994 at Medical Center East, East Syracuse.
They built another center in Manlius in 2001, moved its East Syracuse location to Bowman Road in 2006 and opened a third location on Metropolitan Park Drive in Liverpool in 2009.
In 2017, the Manlius center was demolished and rebuilt at 4595 Enders Road, complete with a new gymnasium.