As many local residents were enjoying Labor Day parades and barbecues, the three men vying to become Buffalo’s next mayor were spending the holiday trying to drum up support among voters.
Mayor Byron W. Brown won endorsements from Rep. Brian Higgins and State Sen. Tim Kennedy, both Buffalo Democrats.
Republican challenger Sergio Rodriguez called the endorsements “business as usual,” adding that city residents are more concerned about education, crime, unemployment and poverty than they are about politicians hopping aboard campaign bandwagons.
Meanwhile, Bernard A. Tolbert, Brown’s challenger in next Tuesday’s Democratic primary, visited the West Side to discuss his “Safer Streets Plan.” The blueprint calls for increasing police on city streets, adding foot patrols in problem-prone neighborhoods and developing more effective strategies for removing illegal guns.
Higgins and Kennedy declared their support for Brown on Monday at a news conference in South Buffalo. Higgins noted that Brown’s campaign theme has stressed “progress.”
“And that is exactly what we have seen in Buffalo over the past several years," Higgins said. “From improvements along the inner and outer harbor waterfront areas, to investments in neighborhoods, to lower property taxes for homeowners and businesses, now more than ever, Buffalo is on the move.”
Brown said he was “extremely honored” to receive the support of Higgins and Kennedy, both of whom have worked closely with his administration on various initiatives.
Rodriguez downplayed the endorsements in a written statement issued Monday night.
“I’m not impressed when a fellow elected official endorses another politician from the same party,” Rodriguez said. “I call that business as usual.”
Tolbert, the former head of the FBI’s Buffalo office, spent time Monday in a West Side area where three men were recently shot. One victim died.
Tolbert cited the “dangers of Byron Brown’s Buffalo,” hitting hard on one of his key campaign themes. Tolbert said his multipronged crime prevention plan would include better training opportunities for law enforcers and citizens to identify and report potential problems before they occur, and pushing for tougher penalties for criminals who use firearms to commit crimes.