After considerable thought, I’ve decided to accept the request of my Democrat Party to become a candidate for the office of Erie County Comptroller. I will appear before the party executive committee this evening at 5:30 pm to request their endorsement.
I believe that no citizen should run for office unless they have an innovative proposal or specific purpose. Based on lessons I’ve learned working to reduce government size and cost, I have several. Each one of them is in service of a simple idea: working Western New Yorkers deserve the most fair and effective local government possible. And this new civil right – the right to a government that lifts rather than burdens us – I believe is within our grasp.
For over a decade, I’ve been engaged in government reform. Employing my knowledge and experience gained as a finance attorney, I’ve studied the budgets and balance sheets of each of Erie County’s 45 governments. I know how they work, and I’m full of ideas of how to transform the comptroller’s office into a strong advocate for taxpayers.
In the course of my private citizen efforts, I’ve stood up to county, town, village, and city politicians and told them they must change. And with the assistance of thousands of volunteers, I’ve caused more public votes than anyone in the history of New York State, letting people decide directly the size and cost of their local government. As a result, voters have adopted downsizing measures in 3 county, 6 town, and 1 village governments, eliminating 26 elected positions and saving local taxpayers $5.2 million per year.
I intend to drain the “show horse” aspect out of the comptroller’s office, and inject a bit of “workhorse” into it. And in the process, with a little luck and a lot of work, I hope as well to return a sense of humility to the idea of government service. Every degree of mind and spirit that I possess
will be devoted to these tasks.
I ask for your help, your thoughts, and your prayers. In so doing, I will relinquish what Benjamin Franklin called America’s highest office, that of citizen, and ask voters to permit me to become their servant, secure in the knowledge that I will always know that my position is less than theirs.
With gratitude and esteem,
Our campaign website will be online later this week. In the interim, my email is
Attorney at Law
Liberty Building, Suite 1904
Buffalo, NY 14202
A.B. American History, 1976
London School of Economics and Political Science
Graduate Studies in International Relations and Public Finance, 1978
Georgetown University Law School
Law Office of Kevin P. Gaughan
General practice; represent small and mid-sized companies in corporate and finance matters; stock and asset purchase agreements; and commercial real estate transactions
Civic Activities and Awards
Author, At First Light: Strengthening Buffalo Niagara in the New Century (Canisius College Press 2003)
Founder, Let People Decide, a citizens organization that seeks to reform local and state governance (www.LetPeopleDecide.org). Kevin’s leadership in increasing citizens’ voice have been profiled in USA Today, Voice of America, and The Yale Law Journal
Founder, Chautauqua Conference on Local Governance, a four-day forum of America’s leading local governance scholars and practitioners, which began Western New York’s community conversation on reducing fragmented government and restoring a sense of shared community, 1997
The Buffalo News, “Outstanding Citizen of the Year,” 1998
Founder, “Region-Wide Conversation,” a program of inter-faith collaboration and studies to foster urban-suburban understanding. Twenty-seven places of worship throughout the Buffalo Niagara region participated, 1999
Founder, Canal Conversation,” a citizens’ forum on waterfront development, heritage tourism, and the history of the western terminus of the Erie Canal, 2000. The forum was credited with helping to save the Commercial Slip and surrounding streetscape, and insure history-based development of the Erie Canal Harbor
Red Jacket Medal for Civic Leadership, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 2002.
Founder, “Buffalo Conversation,” a series of public forums on government and education reform that attracted more than 15,000 citizens and were broadcast live in primetime on WNY’s local network television affiliates, 2003 – 2004
New York State League of Women Voters, Citizen of the Year, 2004
Buffalo Rising Magazine, Buffalo’s 20 Most Influential People, 2007