Utica, NY (WIBX) - Local attorney and longtime committee member Joe Hobika Jr. has been elected to serve as chairman of Utica's Republican committee.

J.P. Kidwell had been serving in that capacity on an interim basis after Wayne Brooks stepped down to become vice chairman of Oneida County's GOP committee. Kidwell did not screen for the position at the committee's meeting on Wednesday night, at which the party also named Robert Cardillo as their candidate for mayor.

"I'm honored that I was elected for the position. My intent is to foster particpation, improve communication and work hard to help the party field qualified, competent candidates," Hobika said. "I'd also like to increase the quality of discussions and questions for the candidates."

Hobika said he would also like increase particpation among committee members and registered Republicans in general.

"Having been a committee member for a number of years, I think it's important to demonstrate they're part of the process and they are valued," Hobika said.

Specifically, he said he'd like to increase the quality of discussions within the party