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.
Thomas J. Mazur
Age: I turned 21 in Vietnam, and I voted absentee ballot for Richard Nixon because I thought he was going to stop the war.
Job Title: 7th District Legislator and Legislature Majority Leader (part Cheektowaga/part Buffalo).
Family: Wife, Mary Grace; son, Luke; daughters, Malina, Kellie and Julie.
Education: Bishop Turner High School; U.S. Army School of Finance; SUNY Buffalo, bachelor of arts (Sociology); SUNY Buffalo, master's degree (Humanities).
What's one thing people don't know about you?
I have two birth certificates. When I was born my father wanted me to be named Luke, and so I was. But my aunts got to my mother and said that I would be teased in school. Kids would be saying "Look, look, here comes Luke." Two months later, my mom relented and changed my name to Thomas.
What music have you been listening to lately?
I have a wide range of music tastes. I am disappointed that my favorite radio station, The Lake, is no longer aired in Western New York, but I listen to rock, pop, jazz, blues, classical and musicals. As a gift this Christmas I received the Broadway production of "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris."
What's your favorite restaurant?
My taste in food is like my taste in music. My family and I always make it a point to visit the Taste of Buffalo. And by doing that, we discover many interesting places. But over the years, we have probably frequented Wiechec's the most. Because they are a neighborhood place and family owned and operated, we always feel welcome and comfortable there.
Who is your political hero?
I have a few. Vaclav Havel, because of his drama and poetry. Lech Walesa, because of his solidarity. Martin Luther King Jr., because of his sense of justice. The Dali Lama, because of his mindfulness and compassion. Mother Teresa, because she may have questioned her faith, but never stopped following her heart.
What's the worst part of your job?
Having a promising proposal be stalled because of partisan politics or the inability to find common ground.