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Five Questions with Kevin Gaughan

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.


Kevin Gaughan goes door to door in 2010 during a government reform effort.(Adam Wolffbrandt/ Buffalo News File Photo)

Kevin P. Gaughan

The Basics:
Age: 58
Party: Democrat
Job Title: Attorney and civic activist
Family: Bachelor poster-child (but working on it), with five sisters and one brother, each of whom are smarter, funnier and far more charming than me 
Town: Buffalo
Education: Harvard University, A.B. American History; Georgetown University Law School, JD; London School of Economics, graduate studies in International Relations

The Questions: 
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I have to say that I don't get out much. But I love weekend breakfast at Ambrosia on Elmwood, lunch at Uncle Joe's on Southwestern in Hamburg, and sushi at Kuni's on Lexington is always a treat. And, sadly, I can't think straight without morning coffee and a donut at Tim Horton's.

What music have you been listening to lately?
I listen to Shakespeare sonnets while dressing in the morning (in emulation of one of my heroes), and the beauty of the language moves me; Phil Ochs, to be inspired; Stephen Sondheim, to be lifted; Beethoven piano concertos (especially the "Hammerklavier"), for tranquility; Burt Bacharach and Hal David, to think of my parents; George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," to feel American; and Jimmy Eat World and the Rolling Stones, to get going. And I just re-discovered the joyous soul in the voice of Levi Stubbs.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
I have twenty-three nieces and nephews who, in their own way, are going to change the world. And it's a bit of a challenge for me to sit still.

Who’s your political hero?
May I tell you my heroes, generally? The Freedom Riders, who all signed a last will and testament before ascending the bus; Harper Lee's Atticus Finch and Frank Capra's Jefferson Smith, who shared unyielding integrity and fierce devotion to American institutions; John Adams and his cousin, Samuel, who wouldn't brook the Brits an inch; Ralph Waldo Emerson, for defining the individual spirit; Margaret St. John, for her defiant, Buffalo courage; Malcolm X (who had great friends in Lackawanna, who recalled his dazzling smile); and Seth Piccirillo, the Niagara Falls official who's looking to "cluster" talented young people in our community.

My political heroes are Anne Frank, whose humanity conquered every inhumane act of the 20th century, and the American soldiers buried in the American Cemetery at Normandy, who gave us the life we know.

If you weren’t an attorney, what would you be doing instead?
My day is spent one-half practicing law, and the other half in government reform efforts. Sometimes, folks are kind enough to ask why I attempt the reform work. I wouldn't know what else to do with my life and, Heaven help me, I can't imagine doing anything else.

Last week: We posed similar questions to Sean Ryan, who is also running for the new 149th District Assembly seat.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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