With the Buffalo Common Council deadlocked on naming a person to fill the vacant South District council seat, and an increasingly louder clamor from the community to make a choice, the call went out for yet more individuals who might be interested in serving to step forward and submit their names for consideration.
This morning, five new candidates made their presentations to the Buffalo Common Council. One of those candidates was Tom Sullivan.
At 26 years of age, Sullivan grew up in a highly involved political family (his cousin is respected Supreme Court Justice Gerald Whalen). “As long as I can remember, politics and elections were always a part of the dinnertime conversation. I was passing out leaflets and stuffing envelopes when still in grammar school,” said Sullivan. As an adult, Sullivan is actively engaged with his neighborhood block clubs and taxpayer organizations. “This was a big part of my job when I worked for Tim Kennedy’s office,” Sullivan explains.
Sullivan has engaged his recent career in two high profile governmental assignments. He served as a Legislative Assistant/Community Liaison in the office of State Senator Tim Kennedy. Then this year he moved to work as Administrative Aide for incoming West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan. He recently stepped down from that position. “I was hired with the proviso that I would have to adhere to that town’s residency requirement. I was contemplating the move to West Seneca, but at the end of the day, I decided that I wanted to remain in South Buffalo. This is my lifelong home. My family and friends are here. And I am emotionally invested in the future of our city,” said Sullivan.
Making his presentation to the Common Council today, Sullivan honed on three important themes – the improving state of the City’s finances and the planned move for the Control Board to go to advisory status; the successful approval and implementation of the new Buffalo Greencode and Master Plan; and the City’s efforts to improve pubic safety and policing. “I give Mayor Brown and the Common Council every bit of credit for turning things around in respect to the City’s budget,” said Sullivan. “A few years ago we were on the brink of the abyss, and look how far we’ve come. Who knows we could be doing ‘pay-as-you-go’ for future capital projects. And a better financial outlook means a better bond rating and lower borrowing costs. We have to keep that momentum and financial prudence going.”
Sullivan is also excited with the recent successes of development in Buffalo’s Canalside and the Outer Harbor, a portion of which is located in the South District. “Turning the waterfront into a world class destination is something we deserve and should be striving for. This is something I am very passionate about and look forward to devoting a great deal of time and attention to,” said Sullivan.
With the Common Council deadlocked so far, Sullivan is hopeful that his presentation resonated with the members. “I know there are some blocks of votes there and some frayed relationships. Perhaps it’s almost refreshing having a candidate before them who is unencumbered by any particular political point of view, and could step in to the position with a fresh perspective and open mindset,” said Sullivan. “I think I have the credentials, I have governmental experience, I have roots in the community, and I know I am electable. Petitions hit the streets in about three more weeks, and I’m ready to get the campaign into gear.”
At this point all Sullivan can now do is wait for the call from City Hall. “It was a fascinating experience appearing in the magnificent Council Chambers and making my presentation, not just to the Council Members but before interested public stakeholders and the media who were in attendance. Whatever the outcome, this was a day that will always stand out. I know I have the mettle for elected office and for serving the public. I hope there are eight Councilmen who might agree.”