In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt had called for reform. As the leading force of the Progressive Party, Roosevelt emphasized a need to “sweep away old abuses” in order “to build” an America with a “new and nobler commonwealth.” But now, 101 years later, here in the City of Buffalo, the irony we find is startling. Just as Roosevelt, I can sense an aching need for reform, for change, for rethinking the role of leadership in our city. There is a sense of urgency felt in all corners of our city – a city built by blue collar labor, back-breaking strength and moral might.
Why am I speaking of Theodore Roosevelt? Surprisingly, there is fundamental history which connects Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the crossroads at which our gritty city finds itself today. Not only was the Progressive Party drafted by Theodore Roosevelt back in 1912, but Roosevelt happens to be the only President of the United States sworn in right here in the City of Buffalo. But now, 101 years later, it is that party – The Progressive Party – which stands representative of crucial issues created by the people, and for the people, of Buffalo. It is the Progressive Party, with its strength in open-mindedness and forward thinking, which stands strong in support of aggressive, positive change.
But ladies and gentlemen, let’s be real: this is not 1912. We are living in the 21st Century, 101 years later. You would think that in that amount of time, we would have mastered a way out of our troubles. But that is not the case. Let’s face reality: there is no Republican nor Democratic solution for what matters most to the people of Buffalo. The four most important challenges our city is facing – education, crime, poverty, and unemployment – are problems that cannot be solved by Republicans nor Democrats, but by leadership, vision, a sense of urgency and truth. It is the people’s need for what is right that will pull us up and motivate us to move in the right direction. Today both Buffalo and the Progressive Party stand with a growing sense of pride for who we are as a people, what the City of Buffalo is as a place, and where this unique chemistry of progressive reform can take us. But nothing will happen without action.
Some may be unclear as to what the Progressive Party is, and what it supports. In short, the Progressive Party is focused on making governmental changes parallel with the changing needs of its people. Such changes are utilized with a dignity defined by moral strength and urgency. And it is urgency, as I emphasize time and time again, that is the critical ingredient necessary for reform in Buffalo; it is an urgency in leadership and independent choice that Buffalonians are starting to detect, to welcome, and to identify as forming in its own grassroots.
Reform occurs when the mass step back from passivity and call for change. Reform occurs when the mass refuse being labeled and branded as “rust belt” or “behind” the movement of other cities. But in order for reform to occur, a strength in openmindedness and forward thinking is necessary. With reform as both the core of the Progressive Party and the strength in my beliefs, that is why I am asking for your support – your vote – as Mayor of the City of Buffalo.
The Progressive Party was formed based on an aching need for change. For the past six years, the United States has heard the word “change” addressed again and again, but with little change taking place. But here in Buffalo, we are not as interested in the unity of all 50 states as much as that of what we, ourselves, can create – what we as a community can progressively change in our own streets.
The question we must ask is “What do Buffalonians need to do?” The answer can be found in the beliefs of the Progressive Party: we need to break the seal which traps us into one party identified with one generalized purpose, limited to one platform. It is urgency, open-mindedness, a welcoming of change, and forward thinking which support independent thinking and choice. Be it the issues addressed by Roosevelt in 1912 or those which I support for the City of Buffalo today, both emphasize a sense of aggressive, undaunted urgency to make changes by moving forward against the current.
That is why I ask: Is Buffalo due for Progressive change?
Yes – it’s time.
I envision a Buffalo where graduating High School is the norm, not the exception. Where residents can feel safe walking the streets in their own neighborhoods. Where mothers and fathers can put food on the table and their children feel secure having a roof over their head.
I envision a Buffalo where hardworking residents of Buffalo have the opportunity to seek and gain employment in their own city.
I envision a Buffalo where small businesses can thrive while working together with city government.
All this is possible with a leader who is also partnering with the residents and is willing to lead the city in this direction.
I am running because I believe that if given the proper foundation, every resident in the city will have the ability to choose, commit, and fulfill their own American dream right here in Buffalo.
The time has come for a more involved administration.
That time is now.