2019 Candidate Surveys

At ASI, advocacy for the arts and cultural sector is an important part of what we do in service of the area’s independent artists, 300+ not for profit cultural organizations, their thousands of employees, and the hundreds of thousands who invest in the cultural sector through their attendance, service, and donations.

Each election cycle, Arts Services Initiative poses a series of questions to candidates for elected office across the region, focusing on the legislative and executive branches. Arts and culture is an important contributor to the area’s economic development, tourism, quality of life, education, and national identity. As such, ASI feels it is important to gauge our candidates’ views on the arts and cultural sector.

Completed surveys will be distributed unedited (except for those answers that exceed the word limit in the optional comment section) in various local Western New York media sources (print and online) prior to the general election, and all candidates’ answers will be made available throughout the election season electronically via Rise Collaborative, Arts Services Initiative of WNY, Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance, The Cultural Alliance of Niagara, and many cultural organizations and our community partners. Those candidates who do not respond are listed in the publication and noted as “Chose not to respond to survey”. It is estimated that this survey is seen by well over 75,000 constituents of the arts and cultural community and others.

This year ASI has sent surveys to candidates in the following races:

  • Erie County Executive
  • Erie County Legislature
  • City of Buffalo Comptroller
  • City of Buffalo Common Council
  • Niagara County Legislature

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – Election Day is Tuesday, November 5. Review the candidate’s responses below before heading to the polls.

ASI Candidate Surveys
See below the candidate’s responses. Know their stance on arts and culture before you go to the polls on November 5!

ERIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE

Candidate Name: Mark C. Poloncarz
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Erie County Executive

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes

*****

Name: Lynne Dixon
Republican, Independent
Current Occupation & Employer: Erie County Legislator

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes

Optional Comment:

Yes, yearly, my colleagues and I in the Legislature increase funding to cultural organization beyond what current County Executive Mark Poloncarz proposes. The Legislature in a bi-partisan manner has prioritized making sure all cultural groups have access to public funding. Our cultural groups are critical to Erie County and WNY.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes

Optional Comment:

The Legislature has always worked to increase cultural funding beyond what the County Executive proposes. Often groups are being left out of funding, luckily Legislators have prioritized making sure these groups have access to the necessary funding they need. Culturals play a vital role in our local economy and I’ve been happy to partner with them and promote them in WNY.

ERIE COUNTY LEGISLATURE

District 1

Candidate Name: Howard J. Johnson Jr.
Democrat

Chose not to respond.
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District 2

Name: April N. McCants-Baskin
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Erie County Legislator District 2

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes

Optional Comment:

Coming from an arts background, I would support continued funding for arts and culture and hope to be able to work towards increasing it over time. As a theater major in college and a small business owner that focused on performing arts as a learning platform, I understand the importance of the arts in education and how art enriches our daily lives. I cannot think of many more worthy entities than the artistic and cultural groups we fund in Erie County.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes

Optional Comment:

I would continue to maintain the current County funding level, and I would support the annual increase wholeheartedly. I would also work to find to bring well-deserving, minority and women owned organizations that have for years gone unseen in the arts and culture community so their work can be brought to the forefront. I hope to bring equal representation to the arts and culture in Erie County by establishing a new County-wide arts focused initiative this year. It is my goal to include members of our local arts community in pieces of public art and also in projects that Erie County provides tax incentives through at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to both highlight their work and also further the vibrant Arts culture in Buffalo and the surrounding area.

*****

Name: Cariol Horne
Green Party
Current Occupation & Employer: Lyft/Uber Driver

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes
_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 3

Name: Lisa M. Chimera
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Juan Carlos Rivera
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Mechanic/ pastor

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes
_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 4

Name: Kevin R. Hardwick
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Canisius College Associate Professor of Political Science and Erie County Legislator

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
This funding has had a significant positive impact on the lives of Erie County residents.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I do not anticipate a budget crisis, as we have been very responsible with our budgeting practices during my tenure on the legislature. If one should occur, however, difficult decisions will have to be made and it might prove impossible to continue the annual increases.

*****

Name: Jacob J. McMahon
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Former US Marine, Current WNY Veteran’s Housing Coalition

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
No

Optional Comment:
The taxpayers must come first. If elected I will proudly support the arts, however I cannot pledge to a steadily increased budget without having the facts of next years’ budget, taxes and the needs of the community. I believe it would be irresponsible to pledge spending money we don’t know we have.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
No

Optional Comment:
I cannot promise a 5% budget increase that would amount to an additional $345,000 next year, and another $362,250 in additional funding in 2021. Our cultural institutions are important to Erie County, and I plan to support them. However, I will not blindly promise increased public funding.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 5

Name: Jeanne Vinal
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Attorney, Vinal and Vinal law firm

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
My husband and I are patrons of many arts organizations and routinely attend productions.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
No

Optional Comment:
I am supportive of additional funding for arts and cultural groups, but without more information, I cannot commit to a 5% annual increase automatically.

*****

Name: Shelly D. Schratz
Independent
Current Occupation & Employer: Self Employeed

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I believe the Arts and Cultures are a central part of our quality of life.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I believe the Art and Cultures are the eyes and ears that connects the world. As a small business owner I can honestly say it’s a large part of our success.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 6

Name: William N. Freeman
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Edward A. Rath III
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Erie County Legislator, representing 6th District and Vice President at VARO Technologies

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I reserve my support for “steadily increasing funding” to be determined year by year. Any perspective funding increases are heavily contingent on numerous financial variables contained within each upcoming County budget.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I support maintaining County Art funding levels at $6.9M. In response to “maintaining a historic annual increase of 5%”, this is also to be determined year by year based on financial variables within each County budget.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 7

Name: Timothy J. Meyers
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Alice J. Magierski
Conservative

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 8

Name: John Bruso
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Frank J. Todaro
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Owners & President of Collision Masters

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
No

Optional Comment:
I believe in the importance of arts and culture in our community, however I am running for office to stop wasteful spending and the rising tax burden. I support the arts, but I cannot blindly write a blank check for increased spending. I would be happy to look at a program on its merits each budget year.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
No

Optional Comment:
Without the budget in front of me, I cannot in good faith pledge a 5% budget increase of taxpayer dollars each year, without seeing the programs and current tax rolls. I know the cultural institutions of Erie County serve the people well, and if elected I look forward to working with them to continue to benefit our community.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 9

Name: John J. Gilmour
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Attorney, Gilmour & Killelea

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I support continued and enhanced funding for arts and cultural organizations.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
No

Optional Comment:
I will maintain funding but cannot commit to a 5% annual growth for funding without knowing the circumstances, overall budget situation of the County, etc. But I will support additional funding.

*****

Name: Ryan R. Stang
Independent
Current Occupation & Employer: Stang Insurance Consulting

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
No

Optional Comment:
I support Arts and Cultural institutions and I have seen the important effect they have on our youth. I am happy to support the arts, however I cannot pledge “steadily increasing funding” without having the programs, budget lines, and tax rolls in front of me. I believe in community, and am happy to work with our Erie County Arts and Cultural Institutions.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
No

Optional Comment:
As a father I have witnessed firsthand the importance of creative thinking, expression, and confidence in my daughter through art and theater classes. I know how important it is, but I cannot sign on for a 5% budget increase every year. I am happy to work with our cultural organizations, but I cannot in good faith write a blank check.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 10

Name: Thomas Casey
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Joseph C. Lorigo
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Attorney in private practice and Erie County Legislator

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Since taking office in 2012, I have consistently supported funding for cultural organizations in the Erie County budget. In fact, I have voted to increase cultural funding levels higher than originally allocated by the County Executive. In addition to supporting cultural organizations in the budget process, I also take the time to visit and meet with many of the organizations who receive county funding. Since 2012, I have personally met with dozens of cultural organizations and their directors as a way to better understand their needs, expectations, and services. This outreach has helped foster a positive working relationship between cultural organizations and other members of the Legislature, since I can attest to the good they do firsthand. While some days have been jam-packed with whirlwind tours, they have been some of the most enlightening and enriching days of my tenure. I look forward to continuing the relationship.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
Yes

Optional Comment:
As stated above, I have supported increased funding levels for cultural organizations every year of my tenure as a County Legislator. I have worked to help new organizations gain access to operational and capital funding every year. I will continue to familiarize myself with the many organizations Erie County helps fund, and work towards a more inclusive and fair distribution of county resources.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 11

Name: Kate Eskew
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Retired professor – Hilbert College

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Absolutely! Funding for the arts is critical to our quality of life, engages our communities and provides educational and cultural literacy for our children.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?
Yes

Optional Comment:
As more arts and cultural organizations meet the funding criteria, I would also advocate for additional funding so that all organizations are adequately funded. 5% should be a minimum increase.

*****

Name: John J. Mills
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Self-Employed, Food Distributor

Cultural agencies currently receive $6.9M total from the County (funding is spread across 99 total organizations). Would you support continued, and steadily increased funding for arts and culture through the County Arts Funding process?

Yes
Optional Comment: Cultural agencies are part of the fabric of our county.

In 2019, there were 25 newly funded arts and cultural organizations (out of 99 in total) in the County Arts Funding process. Every year new organizations in our County become eligible to apply for funding (due to how many years they have been a nonprofit, or other qualifying requirements). Therefore, this increases the need for overall increased County support.Would you maintain the current County art funding levels ($6.9M total) and maintain a historic annual increase of 5% each budget year so that arts organizations in the entire County can provide accessible arts programs for all of its residents?

Yes

CITY OF BUFFALO, COMPTROLLER

Candidate Name: Barbara Miller-Williams
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

CITY OF BUFFALO, COMMON COUNCIL

Delaware District

Candidate Name: Joel Feroleto
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Councilmember and Attorney

Arts organizations in the City of Buffalo have struggled with consistent and streamlined distribution of funding from the City. A historic amount of $100,000 has been distributed in the past, shared by an average of 35-40 total arts organizations, intended on being offered on an annual basis. Between the historic City arts funding years of 2012-2019, funding distribution was skipped in years 2014, 2016, AND 2018 – proving an inconsistent, and unclear process; especially for organizations planning for sustainability.Would you support restored, annual grant funding for arts and cultural organizations in the City of Buffalo and increase the historic total amount ($100,000 spread across 35-40 organizations)?
Yes

Optional Comment:
My office is very proud of the collaborations we have had with artists and art and cultural organizations since being elected to the Council in 2015. We have worked with many local and some international artists to add public art to the district. We are always looking to work together so please contact my office with ideas on potential future collaborations.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Ellicott District

Candidate Name: Darius G. Pridgen
Democrat

Chose not to respond.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Fillmore District

Candidate Name: Mitchell P. Nowakowski
Democrat, Independent
Current Occupation & Employer: Legislative Assistant, Buffalo Common Council

Arts organizations in the City of Buffalo have struggled with consistent and streamlined distribution of funding from the City. A historic amount of $100,000 has been distributed in the past, shared by an average of 35-40 total arts organizations, intended on being offered on an annual basis. Between the historic City arts funding years of 2012-2019, funding distribution was skipped in years 2014, 2016, AND 2018 – proving an inconsistent, and unclear process; especially for organizations planning for sustainability.Would you support restored, annual grant funding for arts and cultural organizations in the City of Buffalo and increase the historic total amount ($100,000 spread across 35-40 organizations)?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Arts & Cultural funding is imperative to the growth of the City of Buffalo. Through the Arts, we as community learn, grow and progress in a positive way by expressing our self’s through culture and the arts.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Lovejoy District

Candidate Name: Bryan J. Bollman
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Masten District

Candidate Name: Ulysees O. Wingo
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Niagara District

Candidate Name: David A. Rivera
Democrat
Current Occupation & Employer: Niagara District Council Member – The City of Buffalo

Arts organizations in the City of Buffalo have struggled with consistent and streamlined distribution of funding from the City. A historic amount of $100,000 has been distributed in the past, shared by an average of 35-40 total arts organizations, intended on being offered on an annual basis. Between the historic City arts funding years of 2012-2019, funding distribution was skipped in years 2014, 2016, AND 2018 – proving an inconsistent, and unclear process; especially for organizations planning for sustainability.Would you support restored, annual grant funding for arts and cultural organizations in the City of Buffalo and increase the historic total amount ($100,000 spread across 35-40 organizations)?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Funding for Arts organizations is vital to our City’s health. Some of the most rewarding work I’ve participated in as been with our arts & cultural organizations, especially those working with young people. I’ve advocated for funding for arts & culturals to be increased and have funded many organizations, Young Audiences of WNY, Ujima Theatre Company, Buffalo Arts Studio and Peace of the City directly with my member-item funding. I commit to advocated for an increase in funding and a clearer process moving forward for arts and cultural funding from the City of Buffalo.

*****

Candidate Name: Mark T. Supples
Republican
Current Occupation & Employer: Restaurant Owner

Arts organizations in the City of Buffalo have struggled with consistent and streamlined distribution of funding from the City. A historic amount of $100,000 has been distributed in the past, shared by an average of 35-40 total arts organizations, intended on being offered on an annual basis. Between the historic City arts funding years of 2012-2019, funding distribution was skipped in years 2014, 2016, AND 2018 – proving an inconsistent, and unclear process; especially for organizations planning for sustainability.Would you support restored, annual grant funding for arts and cultural organizations in the City of Buffalo and increase the historic total amount ($100,000 spread across 35-40 organizations)?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Consistent funding is crucial to arts organizations.Having served on the boards of both Irish Classical and Hallwalls, I understand the relationship between consistent funding and program planning.

*****

Candidate Name: Charles R. Tarr
Green Party

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

North District

Candidate Name: Joseph Golombek Jr.
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

South District

Candidate Name: Christopher P. Scanlon
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

University District

Candidate Name: Rasheed N. Wyatt
Democrat

Chose not to respond.

*****

Candidate Name: Dorthea Franklin
Green Party

Chose not to respond.

NIAGARA COUNTY, LEGISLATURE

District 1

Name: Wendy Guild Swearingen
Democrat, Independent, Working
Current Occupation & Employer: Buffalo Spree Publishing

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Yes, arts and cultural organizations in Niagara County–like the NACC, Artpark, Fort Niagara, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Castellani Art Museum, Theatre in the Mist, the Kenan Center, Lewiston Arts Council, festivals, and more are vital to the growth and reputation of our community. I’ve been working with and reporting on the arts for many years. In fact, Buffalo Spree could not exist without the robust arts community. We’ve seen what happens when funds for arts and culturals and libraries are stripped from the budget–it leaves a gaping hole in communities and suppresses investment.

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Artists of any medium have valuable insight to share and I look forward to working with members of arts and cultural organizations to expand the vision and possibility in WNY. I’ve seen firsthand the excitement generated by programs at Artpark and the thousands of people who come to each show–which also means hundreds of thousands of dollars, too. There is a plan in the works to reopen the theater at Fort Niagara, as well, which will be a draw to the Town of Porter. Businesses fourish where arts are supported.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 2

Name: Rebecca J. Wydysh
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Stephanie L. Kindzia
Democrat, Green, Independent, Working

Chose not to respond.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 3

Name: Robert F. Bilson
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Mark Grozio
Democrat, Working
Current Occupation & Employer: IBEW Local 237

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I would support any additional funding for economic and tourism benefit

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

Optional Comment:
If they live within Niagara County I would be in favor of the interview process for appointments.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 4

Name: Owen T. Steed
Conservative, Democrat, Independent, Working
Current Occupation & Employer: Niagara Falls Police Dept.

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 5

Name: Christopher A. Robins
Conservative, Democrat, Green, Working
Current Occupation & Employer: Teacher Niagara Falls School District

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Optional Comment:
Yes, I believe the Arts and Culture are a vital contributor to the growth of a community.

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

*****

Name: John G. Accardo
Independent, Republican, Working

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 6

Name: David J. Zajac
Conservative, Independent, Republican, Working

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Dennis F. Virtuoso
Working
Current Occupation & Employer: Retired

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 7

Name: Jesse P. Gooch
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Erik A. Herbert
Democrat, Green, Independent, Working
Current Occupation & Employer: North Tonawanda Police Officer

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I would be in favor of supporting art and culture programs in my district and through out Niagara County.

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

Optional Comment:
I am an advocate for needing change in county government. One way to start improving in this area is to bring in outside ideas and perspectives. I would support art and cultural leaders getting more involved in the process.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 8

Name: Richard L. Andres Jr.
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Mark C. Houghton
Democrat, Green, Working

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 9

Name: Randy R. Bradt
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Joseph J. Kissel
Democrat, Green, Independent, Working

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 10

Name: Trevor J. Ganshaw
Democrat, Republican, Working

Will you vote for and support annual operating grant funding for Arts & Cultural Organizations beyond individual Legislative Appropriations in the County Budget?
Yes

Will you work to include Arts & Cultural leaders in county efforts such as appointing them to commissions both within and outside of county government?
Yes

*****

Name: David E. Godfrey
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 11

Name: Anthony J. Nemi
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 12

Name: William J. Collins Sr.
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: David J. Mongielo
Conservative

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 13

Name: WM Keith Mc Nall
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

*****

Name: Anita Mullane
Democrat, Green, Working

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 14

Name: John Syracuse
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

District 15

Name: Michael A. Hill
Conservative, Independent, Republican

Chose not to respond.

VIEW PAST CANDIDATE SURVEY RESPONSES

2018 Candidate Survey Responses

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2017 Candidate Survey Responses

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2016 Candidate Survey Responses

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2015 Candidate Survey Responses

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2014 Candidate Survey Responses

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2013 Niagara Falls City Council Candidate Survey Responses

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2013 ASI Candidate Survey: The Arts in Our Community (as published in Artvoice)

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