NYS Senate 59th District
Current Occupation & Employer Retired Environmental Engineer
Please list your top 3 priorities if elected.
My highest priority is ending the pervasive, democracy destroying, corruption that exists in Albany as it affects practically all other issues. Special interests controlling our legislators are writing our laws, not “the People.” See my web page for 14 measures to reduce corruption including term limits and non-gerrymandered districts. Second, Improving New York’s very poor business climate including critical jobs for the under and unemployed. See web page’s 13 proposals. Third, improving the academic and vocational educational achievement of all our students including the arts.
What is the role of arts and culture in community development and revitalization?
The arts immensely contribute to the development of the “Beloved Community and sense of community.” They educate our youth-our future community builders-of our common humanity (Huck Finn, Jane Austen, To Kill a Mocking Bird, the homeless exhibit at ArtSpace and the Blues) and the essential need to include all of our peoples in our community’s revitalization. The art in our architecture from re-adapted/restored homes and buildings downtown to the Roycroft and a landscape architect’s creation, Delaware Park, have contributed significantly to our lives, development and revitalization.
What is the role of arts and culture in your plans for economic development in Western New York?
Art and culture make major contributions to a healthy economy. Our extensive multi-cultural heritage is the foundation for continuing to welcome new immigrants who build our economy and restore neighborhoods. Careful public investment in A&C promotes economic development such as Just Buffalo, The Irish Classical Theater; Silo City; and the architects, landscape architects and entrepreneurs who have used our architectural history to revive neighborhoods and destinations with accompanying stronger tax-bases. Art in all its forms from Babel to our festivals generates economic activity and jobs.
How would you develop cultural and heritage tourism in Western New York?
I would continue the investment in historic tax-credits that are a public-private partnership that can continue to expand awareness of our heritage and attract tourist’s such as the Michigan Street Corridor, Guarantee Building, industrial heritage sites and the Darwin Martin House. I would like to see this expand to more fully include our indigenous, first nation peoples, their history and culture. Key public spaces require government’s investment and support such as our museums, parks and zoo.
In what ways would you support young people’s access to the arts in order to foster the creative thinking skills needed to ensure a solid future workforce in Western New York?
Education including strong art programs should always be one of our highest priorities beginning with language arts, and expanding to visual arts and music. Parents should have the freedom and right to choose a school where art has a major role in the pedagogy such as Performing Arts, Tapestry Charter or Waldorf schools. Dr. Christopher Emdin who through Hip-Hop is very successfully educating many children who would drop out is a leader in the denied ACE (Arch, Const, Engr) Charter School application in Buffalo. I support this and other parent empowering, publicly funded school options.
Would you vote to decrease, hold steady, or increase grant funding for cultural organizations through the New York State Council on the Arts if elected, and why?
Hold steady with select increases based on a proven ability to contribute to the education of our children or our community’s development. Why select increases? Because arts, while creators of economic activity, are also dependent on economic activity and New York’s being the highest in combined local and state government taxation is one of the causes of our poor business climate.
Several of the Regional Economic Development Council plans throughout the state include arts and culture as a priority or targeted industry, but the WNY plan only mentions it in the context of tourism. If elected, would you advocate for the inclusion of arts and culture in the WNY REDC plan and for a cultural representative to sit on the council, and why?
Yes, arts and culture should be included based on my response to the question above and there definitely should be a cultural representative on the council in order to continually make the case for arts inclusion.