Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.
Job Title: 4th District Erie County Legislator
Family: Married for 32 ½ years to the former Deborah L. Maiurano; one daughter: Aubrey, 28; three sons: Jeremy, 28; Matthew, 20, and Brian, 19; two granddaughters: Kaile, 8, and Julianna, 5.
Town: City of Tonawanda
Education: Three degrees in political science from SUNY-Binghamton, B.A. (1979), M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1988).
Salary: $42,588 per year.
What's one thing people don't know about you?
When I was 18, I was elected to a school board in the Binghamton area on the final day of my senior year in high school. It was also the only day I ever had detention (honest). The vice principal threatened to put a sign up in the high school auditorium where voting machines were set up directing people to the detention room to “meet your candidate.” Fortunately for me, he did not carry through on his threat.
You recently appeared on "The Daily Show" in a sketch about the New York primary. How did your students at Canisius College react?
They loved it. I’m teaching my course on American Political Humor next spring. The Daily Show sketch will certainly be part of the course, as it gives me “street cred.”
What's your favorite restaurant?
I have a lot of fond memories of Chuck E. Cheese’s in Amherst, especially of time long past when I could beat my kids in the games. Now, I’m lucky if I can defeat my granddaughters. I also am partial to T.G.I. Friday’s at the Boulevard Mall on Christmas night. Several years ago, we stumbled onto the fact that they open up at about 5 p.m. on Christmas, and dinner there has been a family tradition ever since.
Who is your political hero?
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who was one of the heroes of Gettysburg. He was also a rhetoric professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, the president of the college and the governor of Maine. It was his actions at Appomattox at the end of the Civil War, however, for which I truly admire him.
While supervising the parade of confederate soldiers surrendering their arms, Chamberlain called his own union troops to attention as a gesture of respect for their former enemies. This sort of respect is too often lacking in present-day politics. Once elections are over, we need to respect our former opponents and work together in the interests of the community.
What's the worst part of your job?
Having to say “no.” It’s never easy, but it has to be done.
Buffalo: Rich Fontana, Dave Franczyk, Joe Golombek, Michael LoCurto, David Rivera, Bonnie Russell, Mark Schroeder, Demone Smith, Darius Pridgen,
Erie County: Betty Jean Grant, Thomas Loughran Lynn Marinelli, Thomas Mazur, John Mills, Mark Poloncarz, Ed Rath