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Next story: The Arts and Our Community: Niagara Falls City Council Candidates

The Arts and Our Community: Erie County Legislature Candidates

ASI Candidates Survey: Erie County Legislature Candidates

This year Arts Services Initiative of Western New York surveyed candidates for various offices in Erie and Niagara Counties to ascertain their priorities and their positions on the role of arts and cultural institutions in the communities they hope to serve.

“As the cultural sector shows its strength as a constituency, it’s important to know where our elected officials and candidates stand on arts and culture,” says Tod Kniazuk, ASI’s executive director.

The surveys will be published on ASI’s website ( and in Artvoice. “While the survey results are going to be posted on the ASI website and circulated throughout the cultural community, publishing the results in Artvoice really takes this project to the next level in terms of exposure,” Kniazuk says.

In last week’s issue, we offered the responses submitted by three candidates for mayor of Buffalo and two candidates for Erie County Comptroller. This week: candidates for Erie County Legislature, below, and Niagara Falls City Council candidate responses, here.


1. Please list your top three priorities if elected.

2. What is the role of arts and culture in our community in general, and specifically in your district?

3. What is the role of arts and culture in your plans for economic development in Erie County?

4. How would you develop cultural and heritage tourism in Buffalo/EC/NF?

5. What do you see as your role in improving education in Erie County, and how does a quality arts education factor into your vision?

6. Would you vote to decrease, hold steady, or increase operational funding for cultural organizations if elected, and why?

7. Would you support the creation of a committee to discuss dedicated funding for the cultural sector?


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 1st District

Current occupation: Erie County Legislator, 1st District

1. My top three priorities focus on: Improving public safety throughout the 1st legislative district. Working with the community, Say Yes (Buffalo), ECC and other educational partners to help improve the performance of the students in the Buffalo Public School system. Ensuring the people that live in the 1st District have access to quality health care facilities.

2. The arts are the heart of our community—especially in the 1st district. From the Theater District to Allentown to Historic Polonia where the noted Adam Mickiewicz Library has developed into a thriving theater and dramatic circle, introducing world-renowned drama to Western New York. Utilizing the talents of local artists. Our community utilizes the many historic treasures that exist in Western New York, and is pivotal in developing young artists and their talents.

3. Economic development must thrive off a “chain reaction” sequence. We want both residents and visitors alike to attend a play, have dinner, purchase gifts and use our transit system during a day out in the community enjoying the arts. Revenue generated will course back into the community, advancing progress and financial growth.

4. I would develop a marketing campaign that promotes and encourages the community to come out and get involved in showing off our great community! We will hold events that get the word out about current and potential tourist attractions, and energize the community to attract potential tourists through word of mouth and electronic and social media.

5. As a County Legislator, I continue to support and assist programs in the city of Buffalo aimed at improving the performance of the Buffalo Public Schools. Skills developed from participation in a quality arts education will not only transfer to other academic areas, but also foster invaluable creative thinking, teamwork, articulation, self confidence and cognitive skills in students.

6. The County Executive, in his four year plan, has already budgeted for a modest increase in funding over the next three years. I support that plan in order to sustain our cultural programming and cultural tourism.

7. I am open to any discussion intended to support and promote the cultural community.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator 1st District

Current occupation: Retired, Buffalo Police Department

1. a) Promote job training and economic development initiatives resulting in high quality of life Living Wage employment opportunities for area residents. b) Allocate adequate funding directed to our Arts and Cultural Groups and Library Services throughout the County. c) Insure that Child Care Subsidies, Health Clinic Services and all other Human Service Programs remain a top priority of the Administration and the Erie County Legislature.

2. The role of arts and culture, as a community asset, is critical in determining specific ways to strengthen cultural values while preserving heritage and history throughout our diverse neighborhoods. The role further serves as a revenue generating resource which has proven to benefit our local economy while spurring local economic development and enhancing the quality of life for all residents and showcasing our region to visitors from around the world.

3. In my plan, the role of arts and culture groups will be to help stimulate economic vitality as an inclusive partner with Erie County government. The Plan will ensure that funding continues to be allocated to existing groups as well as including new initiatives. I plan to encourage citizen participation, community group input, and promote the marketing of our arts and cultural groups throughout our region as an exciting destination point.

4. Promote and partner with community partners through creative “placemaking”, a term referring to the development of distinctive, livable places through community engagement. By ensuring that the Legislature works with the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Bureau, the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, Inc., Educational Institutions, etc., I would advocate that the Buffalo region be further utilized as the host region for local, state and national venues focusing on our cultural assets.

5. My role will be to collaborate with local School Districts, partnering with arts and cultural communities as an advocate promoting art/music education as critical to human development which helps shape the social and cultural identity of each student throughout our diverse school systems. Would ensure the continued funding of Afterschool/Summer Programs, particularly those focused on culturally based curriculums, inclusive of site visits to cultural organizations fostering interest in the arts.

6. I would increase the Operational Funding for the Cultural Organizations to ensure that the services are adequately provided and allow them the opportunity to build their mission and vision without annual funding deficiencies.

7. I am in support of the Erie County Cultural Resource Advisory Board which provides assistance regarding matters concerning cultural agencies funding. I further support the creation of a committee to discuss dedicated funding for the cultural sector.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 2nd District

Current occupation: Incumbent

1. a) Growing the economy by working to bring jobs and other resources to our community. b) Making sure libraries are open and adequately funded. c) Supporting increased funding for the Arts.

2. The arts and culturals to serve to educate and uplift the spirits and to increase the residents to master artists and performers from the past as well as cultivating future generations of artists.

3. To support projects such as the Darwin Martin House, Michigan Street Baptist Church and the Michigan Street Heritage Corridor and the Hispanic Heritage Corridor. These initiatives will help increase cultural awareness and bolster employment in our community.

4. I would encourage local government to work with the county and state agencies to maximize cultural resources and to jointly work on projects that will advance the overall projects.

5. I believe arts and music as well as exercise or physical education, should be mandatory in our public school.

6. I would vote to increase funding. I fought hard to restore funding to the Arts that was cut during the Collins Administration.

7. Absolutely. I believe the cultural sector must be proactive and aggressive in forming this committee.


Office sought: Erie County Legislature, 2nd District

Current Occupation: CEO—National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities Inc.

1. a) Education: Providing access to a low-cost, quality education. We need to give our teachers, parents, children and schools the resources they need to succeed. b) Job Development and Training: Bringing more jobs to our area and providing people with the skills needed for demand occupations. c) Arts, culture and recreation: I have been providing these types of programs at N.I.C.Y.O. for the past 25 years. I want to increase funding for all programs that can effectively deliver these services.

2. Arts and culture can be used as gateways for civic participation and engagement. They create empathy among participants and exert a powerful influence on societal development. Artists often challenge commonly held perspectives with innovative thinking. They raise awareness about social issues, break down barriers to cross-cultural understanding, and inspire creative ideas. In Buffalo, our arts and cultural groups bring different communities together and improve our quality of life.

3. We need to integrate the vision of business leaders with local artists in finding creative solutions to increasing our economic development. I propose the development of “Cultural Districts” and “Arts Enterprise Zones” that create spaces for artists and other creative talent to cluster, interact, and thrive. By locating firms, artists, and cultural facilities together, a multiplier effect can result and thereby improve our competitive edge in attracting visitors (and their money) to Buffalo.

4. First, we must “Protect, Preserve and Restore” our historic landmarks and cultural assets. A plaque stating “on this site a great building once stood” can’t tell the story. The Erie Canal and the Darwin Martin house are good examples of important preservation and restoration projects. We have tremendous cultural assets in Buffalo and we need to market them more effectively by providing resources to the organizations that are charged with that task.

5. I will be an advocate for giving our schools the resources they need to effectively teach our young people. Keeping music and art programs in all Buffalo schools will be one of my goals. Research and studies have shown us that music improves our capacity to learn. Statistics show that playing an instrument pays off; there is a direct correlation between playing a musical instrument and achieving higher grades. Fine arts programs, like those available at BAVP school should be expanded.

6. I would significantly increase the County budget, because of the social and economic benefits. I will call on the County Executive to establish an annual dedicated source revenue for Arts & Cultural organizations from the Casino gambling revenues.

7. A resounding yes! We also need to make sure that the Erie County Legislature’s Cultural Resources Advisory Board is fully functional and that any independent committee that is created, coordinates with that Board to get the necessary resources.


Erie County Legistator, 3rd District

Current Occupation: Erie County Legistator—3rd District

1. Top 3 priorities are: a)Economic Development. b) Job Creation. c) District Office Constituent Services.

2. Beyond enrichment values, cultural organizations play a major role in generating regional economic growth and identity.

3. The allocation of discretionary funding to support cultural organizations is part of what the legislature can do to enhance the role that arts and culture currently play in local revenue generation and employment.

4. My role as a board member of Visit Buffalo Niagara allows me to assist in developing policies and guidance related to increasing the level of both cultural and tourism regional activities.

5. I am an advocate for maintaining arts programming in education as an integral part of a comprehensive learning environment.

6. I have consistently voted and advocated for cultural organization funding within budgetary limitations and the constraints caused by external mandated costs.

7. Yes. The current Community Enrichment Committee, which I chair, provides the opportunity for dialogue on cultural sector funding.


Erie County Legislator, 3rd District

Current Occupation: Attorney, Self-Employed

1. a) Proper funding, staffing, and staff retention of the County’s Veteran Service Agency. b) Expansion of community and private volunteer sports and arts services offered in schools. c) Directing the conversation of county legislature on county-specific issues, such as: addressing the needs of children freed for adoption and under DSS supervision; officer safety and mental health services for those in the jail and holding center; greater cooperation between the county government and community services in providing direct-care services to people within the community; expansion of urban gardening programs.

2. The arts are critical to any redevelopment plan. The arts are the driving force to local business-open-air concerts bring people to the community to eat and shop. Art galleries provide art classes, lectures and culture to neighborhoods. Art belongs in schools-playing musical instruments enhances academic performance (scholarships for our students!). Most restaurants in town have cooperative arrangements with local galleries to show and sell local art. Living and working in and among art elevates us all.

3. It starts with community. I love murals-they turn empty space for would-be vandals into works of art that the community can create together. It empowers people to have a direct involvement in their environment and is the opportunity to teach our kids about local history. We absolutely must support programs like Shakespeare in the Park and encourage other organizations and corporations to continue and expand their sponsorship of music and theatrical events. Buffalo is the rust belt epicenter for the arts. We have world-class museums and countless free events. Let’s bring outside disposable tourism income here!

4. Growing up I loved the “I love New York” campaign. I would love to see a commercial that offers rapid-fire snapshots of all our events, galleries, and artists for campaign about the awesomeness of Buffalo’s arts scene. I live on Amherst Street and the work Marcus from 464 Gallery and Doreen from Artsphere has transformed this area. From galleries to lectures to history projects to murals, these things have coalesced this community into the thriving neighborhood it once again is. I’d also LOVE to see a CityPass, where people can buy one “hopper” ticket and go to all attractions for one price.

5. I would fight for greater partnership between community and corporate entities and the school system. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of school buildings after hours and corporate sponsorship of school events. It is time we find a way to make it work. There isn’t a great enough tax base in Buffalo to adequately support the arts, and raising property taxes significantly enough to cover those costs isn’t the appropriate action either. We need to invite and have our community leaders invest in our schools, and empower them to pass on their talent and resources to the next generation.

6. This is a tough question. Erie County has undergone a significant financial upheaval over the past 60-70 years. We are coming back strong, but aren’t where we can and should be-not yet. There have been times when cuts had to be made across-the-board. I am hopeful that this will not occur again. I will work hard that ensure that it does not happen on my watch.

7. Absolutely. I’m volunteer to create and be on it. I volunteer to do so even if I’m not elected. That’s how I roll.


Erie County Legislator, 4th District

Current Occupation: Canisius College Assoc. Professor of Political Science

1. a) Safeguarding the health and welfare of our community. b) Pursuing policies that will result in the creation and retention of good paying jobs. c) Broadening the tax base and promoting intergovernmental cooperation in order to maintain low property tax rates.

2. Arts and cultural institutions are essential elements of our community. They help define who we are and are basic to our quality of life. Specifically, in the City of Buffalo, arts and cultural groups are helping the city transition from a manufacturing hub to a web of unique neighborhoods where people enjoy living and visiting.

3. The impact of arts and cultural institutions goes beyond the the valuable effects of cultural tourism. In order for us to realize our goal of creating new good-paying jobs for our residents, we need to provide a climate conducive to attracting businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs. Maintaining a vibrant cultural community is an important aspect of these efforts.

4. As a legislator, it is my job to make sure that Visit Buffalo Niagara is given the resources it needs to accomplish its mission. They are the professionals when it comes to tourism, and I have a record of making sure they are equipped to do their job properly. My role is to oversee their work, not to micromanage it. With that said, we have a great story to tell here in Erie County, and cultural and heritage tourism is a great part of that story.

5. I am not sure we would be well-served by county legislators meddling in the affairs of the Buffalo Public Schools. Having said this, I strongly believe arts education is integral to quality elementary and secondary education.

6. I could support any of these options depending on a variety of budgetary factors.

7. I would not oppose creation of such a committee. I am not, however, a huge fan of dedicated funding for anything. My concern is the so-called “fungibility” argument, where dollars from a dedicated source merely replace, rather than enhance funding.


Erie County Legislator, 4th District

Current Employer: High School Social Studies Teacher / Ken Ton Schools

1. The three priorities that I will focus on will be: a) To protect our county services: including our arts and culturals. b) To rebuild our Infrastructure. c) To control the growth of taxes.

2. Arts and culture are vital to Erie County, they help us to be a well-rounded community. They expose youth to the outside world and help us all respect our cultural diversity.

3. Arts and culture are a large part of my vision of Buffalo and Erie County economic redevelopment. A part of my economic focus is to attract private industry to relocate here and appealing to the employer is an enormous role of our vibrant Arts and cultural scene. Many look to Buffalo from the outside as grim or another “rust belt” community, however when they arrive and immerse themselves do they see us a viable option. We need to expose our Arts and culture to the world.

4. The first step is to build upon the work of advertising our Arts and culture in trade magazines, print media, and other publications. We need to be creative in our advertising and monopolize on opportunities. I can only think the piece the NY times had just run about the growth of Buffalo and want to offer marketing options to potential investors.

5. As an educator, I see the value of a quality arts education as it creates well rounded future citizens: whether to provide therapy or engage a conversation in history. A large part of Erie County government is funding programs that operate outside of the school day. I would push to offer more valuable programs during the summertime and afterschool hours that assist our community’s students in their school work and I cannot not imagine these programs without art and cultural components.

6. I will vote to increase funding for cultural organizations if elected. We need innovation to create economic opportunities and cultural organizations help serve as pathway to this.

7. I will if the committee does not become a burden to the tax payers in the community.


Office sought: Erie County Legislature, 5th District

Current occupation: Retired

1. To work with other members of the Leg to better understand and communicate with the public about what projects and services that the taxpayer are entitled to by the taxes already paid and how best to hold the line on future increases.

The improvement and accountability of the office of Social Services and its recipients are an ongoing program that require a continuing vigilance in its fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer.

To investigate what input or what County Gov. can do to more fairly educate our children throughout Erie County which should include the idea that some sort of dedicated funding of those arts and cultural interests in our community that have the ability to educate our children about our history and enhance ideas to grow our future.

To hold steady, and increase this type of funding should be part of the regular budget process.


Office sought: Erie County Legislature, 5th District

Current occupation: Incumbent

Loughran did not respond to the survey.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 6th District

Current occupation: Assistant Superintendent, North Tonawanda CSD

1. a) Develop and support a fiscally responsible budget plan. Not based on cuts to programs but making sure programs are run effectively and efficiently so more opportunities are available to our residents. This also means that cultural programs will be a priority in developing our financial plan. b) Reshape Erie County Government so that it can react to our residents and not be based on partisanship. c) Offer a county where good jobs are available with socially responsible businesses.

2. Arts and cultural programs are one of the primary reasons that a community grows. These opportunities offer residents many avenues to enjoy events outside of work or other responsibilities. Erie County needs to be a partner in supporting these programs.

3. My answers previously show that the community needs a vibrant cultural atmosphere if you want your community to thrive. I believe this is an important function of all of our governments including Erie County.

4. We have many untapped resources that if brought out to other parts of the country would greatly enhance our county. (E.g. last year there was a program looking at the architecture throughout Erie County which should be expanded for future growth. From what I read, it was a great success.)

5. As a graduate from Buffalo and an administrator in a school district, I support programs that offer a quality Arts program. The issue that many of us now face are the Tax Cap limits which put mandated programs against many of the non-mandated which limits these opportunities in schools. In regard to Buffalo Schools, and all public Schools, the Arts programs offered are the students’ first opportunity to experience these programs, so effective and efficient funding is necessary.

6. Increase, as long as they are run efficiently and that other required programs are not reduced. Remember, the county also has the Tax Cap limits as previously mentioned.

7. The formation of a committee may be reasonable but I would need more details before fully supporting this concept. The committee would identify that the county would only be part of the solution as other entities must also be represented.


Office sought: Erie County Legislature, 7th District

Current occupation: Business development manager, Globalquest Staffing

1. a) Work together with Town and City officials, along with the banks, to return foreclosed homes back on to the tax rolls. b) Hold the line on our County taxes. c) Ensure that the County continues to support arts and cultural organizations.

2. Arts and culture are a very important piece of our community. It is an excellent time for folks to learn about the different cultures we have in our area, the history of WNY, see a theater production or listen to music. I believe that we have a diverse arts and cultural arena here in Erie County and we need to protect and preserve it.

3. Preserving the arts and culturals helps in economic development not only in Buffalo but in WNY as a whole. Whether it is a German Festival in East Aurora, Elmwood Arts Festival in the City, Pulaski Day in Cheektowaga, Albright Knox, Shea’s, City of Night at Silo City—these events and shows attract people to the different areas within our region and in turn stimulate the economy. Having dinner or shopping in that neighborhood, parking, picking up a dish to pass at Wegmans all play a part.

4. As Legislators we will all have the ability to help ensure that these organizations receive our assistance not only through funding but also by personally attending and also encouraging others to participate by attending, volunteering and donating to these organizations.

5. Quality programs are essential to education and I do not like seeing them cut from the schools. As someone who was a part of the music program through all of my education in elementary, middle, high school and college through my violin playing and chorus I would work to see that they are not cut. These are excellent avenues for young people to be able to express themselves.

6. Since I am not yet an elected official and am not privy to the specifics of the County budget I am not able to give specifics. However, I will not vote to decrease the total amount of funding.

7. Yes.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 7th District

Current occupation: Employee at Gaelic American Athletic Association

1. a) Stop Sprawl: It’s ruining our urban center and our prime agricultural land. b) Fix ECC: One Campus with great programs. c) Revise the chaotic and costly County Highway System.

2. As a small sized city, Buffalo is incredibly fortunate to have such a vibrant arts and cultural community. It’s part of our identity as a region and essential to developing and sustaining our economy.

3. They’re vital. They’re what set us apart from other city’s. If tourism is going to grow here, it will in large part be due to the success of our arts and culturals.

4. You find the things that are really, really special or unique and then you promote them.

5. As a County Legislator, I will be an advocate. I would love to see Arts and Cultural organizations develop more partnerships with City schools and I would support the funding needed to do so.

6. As of now, I would hold steady because I haven’t analyzed where resources are needed.

7. Of course.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 7th District

Current occupation: Project manager, VMBG at Buffalo Federal Detention Facility

1. Increase the scope of the Legislature from a body acting as a pass through for state mandates and performing ministerial functions to an active and aggressive unit focusing on economic development, regional planning and quality of life issues. Develop priorities for regional growth focusing on new urbanism—public investment in metrorail expansion and public transportation enhancements and continued development of our waterfront.

2. I am proud of my involvement in public financial support of our cultural institutions during my tenure as a member of the Cheektowaga Town Board. Cheektowaga boasts an active and robust cultural scene, one of the finest community symphony orchestras anywhere, an arts guild, a community chorus, and is the home to major cultural and ethnic festivals. I was happy to sponsor legislation to provide seed funding for these organizations in our town.

3. Cultural organizations are not wards of the state; they are economic development generators which turn over public funding back into the community many fold, hiring of staffs, procurement of goods and services which provide a multiplier effect in the economy. Culture means good business and should be viewed as such.

4. Identifying a central marketing and promotions unit,under the auspices of theBuffalo Niagara Partnership, the UB Regional Institute, or another named agency that would act as a clearinghouse to perform public relations and tourism promotion functions for our area’s greatest cultural assets. The Legislature, via its Community Enrichment Committee, could act as a conduit.

5. The role of arts education, specifically in our public schools, is more a function of the city’s and the suburb Boards of Education. The erie County Legislature has a minimal role in this process.

6. While the easy answer would be to provide a steadily rising grant stream to cultural organizations, a responsible elected official can only act within the parameters of overall budgets and financial constraints which exist in a certain window of time.

7. The Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board is that committee, and if their mission needs to be expanded from its current role of evaluating grant applications and making recommendations, I would certainly support that.


Erie County Legislature, 7th District

Current Occupation: Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch

1. a) Offer incentive programs to keep high school and college graduates in the region. b) Create opportunities to bring jobs to the region by offering tax advantages for companies who move into the area, as well as offering incentives for small businesses. c) Eliminate wasteful government spending, and integrate public-private partnerships.

2. Arts and Culture play a crucial role in the makeup of every community. It can define who you are and what you stand for. It can also, provide insight into your past and shed light on where you will go in the future. Buffalo is fortunate to have such a rich and diverse make up of cultures, it gives us the opportunity to integrate it into our plans for regional growth and prosperity. I firmly believe that growth isn’t one dimensional, we need to integrate the arts and culture into any future plan.

3. I firmly believe that in Buffalo with our ever expanding Colleges and Universities, and proximity to Canada we can become a focal point for the arts. We have such a wide reach that we need to think outside of the box. We need to think about the arts as being the main source of development not as an after thought to compliment development. We need to tap into large markets such as Toronto and center our plans around creating a truly unique experience that sets us apart as a prime destination.

4. I am a huge supporter local schools; having Degrees from UB and Canisius College I am very passionate about the idea of integrating schools of every level (K-12 and beyond) with a heritage tourism program here in Buffalo. I think in order to grow as a region we need to do a better job of brining our youth to the forefront. We have students from all over the world here in Buffalo what better way to create tourism than to integrate it with education programs.

5. I am very passionate about improving education. I worked four summers teaching in inner city schools. I have witnessed the struggles of students first hand. I firmly believe we need to do everything we can to create well-rounded programs for students. If there is one thing I have learned about education it is that the arts foster creativity and interest in education. If we want to grow as a region, education is a critical factor. I will fight for increased funding for schools.

6. I would work to increase operational funding for cultural organizations if elected. Having a business background I know that increased funding for cultural organizations provides a high return on investment and we NEED to invest in our future.

7. I think a committee should be formed, however creating a committee means nothing if people are not passionate about making a difference. I would hold open forums and bring together the public and local leaders to help facilitate committee formation.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 8th District

Current occupation: Field experience coordinator, Buffalo State College

1. a) Infrastructure; roads, bridges. b) Constituent services. c) Preserving funding for the arts.

2. The role of the arts in any community is a source of entertainment, a creative outlet and is vital to intellectual and cultural growth. In Buffalo, the arts allows our community to appreciate the diverse makeup of people living here.

3. There is a noticeable return on investment in the arts. When people spend money at a cultural event—they not only support the arts—but the community as a whole. They eat at a locally owned restaurant, use public transportation and walk through the city. This is already becoming tangible change for Buffalo. By re-opening Main Street to traffic, the Theatre District stands to gain.

4. As a legislator, I would ensure that the necessary resources are directed to promote cultural and heritage tourism to the area. I would also leverage public dollars for more private investment.

5. Our community needs to be more involved in the education of our children. One way we can do this is by continuing to support the arts both in and out of the classroom. The arts are key to heightening student engagement and allows a creative outlet to meet the varied learning styles among students. This can ultimately lead to higher academic achievement.

6. While I do not know enough about the budget to make a firm decision, I would make a full overview of the budget a priority during my first weeks in office. I would commit to not decreasing funding for the arts.

7. Yes—a committee dedicated to discussing funding for the arts and cultural sector would allow for a wide array of ideas to inspire and enhance this conversation.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 8th District

Current occupation: Self-employed, financial services

1. a) Job creation specific to manufacturing and R&D for medical field. b) Continued emphasis on county wide development and infrastructure. Including but not limited to: small business development, Vocational Training, Arts and Entertainment corridors. c) Focus on regional and national tourism for WNY.

2. Having a family heavily involved in local symphonies and orchestras I have been exposed to a litany of tremendous musicians and performers locally. Unfortunately I have also seen the drastic and negative effects of budget cuts and how they impact students and young performers ability to own and instrument (or rent), afford private tutors, and develop into the next WNY generation of artists. The existing role of our arts and entertainment community provides a very positive cultural experience.

3. I would like to see and emphasis on providing better facilities i.e. more band shells or studios, as well as a focus on existing local cultural capitals such as Hertel Ave and the local Universities and Colleges performing arts. I believe that planned future projects should always include cultural emphasis in their design plans.

4. It has been said that tourism+ heritage + culture = sustainable economies. The challenge to WNY will be to ensure that any development or infrastructure expansion must include the arts in its process. Tourism is a clean industry, there can be no foreclosed homes or blights or the tourism simply wont produce. I believe we have the culture and the heritage, we will continue to push for sustained development mindful of the heritage of Buffalo.

5. Improving education starts with the youngest of ages. Therefore as parents, citizens, and neighbors we must emphasize early exploration into the arts for our children. Whether it is painting, dance, or picking up a saxophone; exposure to the arts is only helpful to their personal development. Children who are in successful music ed programs statistically do better in school and have better attendance records.

6. I would vote to increase where feasible. Again, if looked at as an economic engine, cultural organizations will certainly offer a solid return on investment over time. And if our regional tourism is to work properly we will need to support the arts.

7. Yes, I would like to have a committee of public officials and citizen advocates all of whom have an interest in the success of our cultural organizations.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 9th District

Current occupation: BMHA Housing Aide

1. My top priority would be to end special interest and lobbyist power over our government by having publicly financed elections. If there is no political campaign or PAC for them to contribute to, they can no longer buy the favor of our politicians…legally that is. Second, would be economic development. The more positive investment that can be brought into our community the greater the economy will be for all of us. Third, would be general quality of life issues.

2. Art and culture play a big role in this community; not nearly enough as far as I am concerned. There is something to be said about being free to express yourself without having to feel the constant judgement of others. Art allows that. In communities where art and culture are prevalent the quality of life there is noticeably better than others.

3. Art makes you think and feel. Generally, people value those things. Clearly investors do. Try to find an affordable space on Elmwood Avenue. It’s not going to happen. It is essential to expand the role of art in our community to grow our economy and the character of our people.

4. This community is very ethnically diverse. The people here are proud. There are festivals here celebrating a multitude of ethnicities and backgrounds. With the proper leadership and guidance this community could be a beacon for those that have a genuine appreciation for multiculturalism.

5. I was an art and photography major at McKinley H.S. in the City of Buffalo. I spent a quarter to a third of my school day in that class. That experience was greatly beneficial to me. It should be the norm for all students to have the opportunity to go to school and grow up in an environment that encourages you to be and express yourself. School shouldn’t be just about academics, it should also be about developing the individual.

6. Investment into the arts should be a priority for us all. I would spend as much as I responsibly could on developing the arts county wide.

7. Absolutely. I believe that would greatly benefit the people of Erie County.


Office sought: Erie County Legislator, 9th District

Current occupation: Incumbent.

Dixon did not respond to the survey.


Erie County Legislature—10th District

Current Occupation: Citi Regulatory Compriance

1. a) Ensure that infrastructure throughout Erie County is well maintained and modernized with a focus on unsafe roads and bridges. b) Safeguard support for arts and culture in our community. c) Work to bring new development and jobs to Erie County.

2. By supporting Buffalo’s unique cultural identity and thriving arts community, we can enhance what sets us apart from other cities. Together, in the process, we can draw newcomers and encourage residents to remain in the area.

3. Arts and cultural programs have proven a wise investment, promoting artists as well as locally owned businesses. By ensuring that Buffalo has a vibrant cultural identity, we will simultaneously provide support for other areas of the economy.

4. I will ensure that tourism in the Buffalo area receives ample support. The cultivation of Buffalo’s rich past and innovative present will draw people to our region.

5. The arts need to be a constant presence in a student’s life, in and outside the classroom. These classes and experiences serve as a productive outlet and keep students engaged in their education.

6. I will not decrease operational funding for cultural organizations, and intend to do a full overview of the budget if elected.

7. Yes, I want a multitude of voices and ideas to come together and work towards a better Buffalo.

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