The “Watchdog” of Hazleton passes away

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many in the city of Hazleton are mourning the loss of a woman known as a watchdog of taxpayers dollars.

63-year-old Grace Cuozzo passed away over the weekend, people today are reacting to the news.

“We had a love/hate relationship. From the beginning, we were at odds,” Former Hazleton Councilman Jack Mundie said.

Jack Mundie and Grace Cuozzo were members of the city council for about two years. He says while they disagree on many topics, they shared the same goal.

“She cared about the community. She cared about the taxpayers. She cared about keeping taxes low for the people of Hazleton,” Mundie said.

Cuozzo was a fixture at city council meetings since the mid-1980s. She ran for mayor twice but came up short.

“When she latched onto something she really kept going at it until she got some sort of result,” Former Hazleton Mayor Joe Yannuzzi said. Yannuzzi defeated Cuozzo during her 2011 bid for mayor.

“She cared about the city of Hazleton. I don’t think anyone is going to replace Grace, she was one of a kind,” Yannuzzi said.

Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko says Cuozzo demanded accountability from everyone who had anything to say about the operation of the city.

“You knew one thing you always learned about Grace, she’s upfront and open in any dealings you have. She was always open and kept you on your toes,” Leshko said.

Cuozzo ran for mayor this year. She lost in the May primary on the Democratic ticket to Bob Yevak.

Grace Cuozzo passed away Sunday after a valiant fight against cancer. She was 63-years-old.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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