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Wingo sworn in to finish Smith’s term on Buffalo Common Council

Ulysees O. Wingo was appointed Friday to fill out the remainder of former Councilman Demone Smith’s term as Masten councilman. Wingo’s appointment took effect immediately, and runs through the end of the year.

The Masten seat became vacant in June after Smith left the Council to take a job heading up the city’s Employment and Training Center. At the time, Council leadership said it would wait until after the September primary to make the appointment, enabling the Council to appoint the Democratic primary election winner.

Wingo won the primary Thursday, and the Council on Friday unanimously appointed Wingo to fill the remainder of Smith’s term.

The voters supported Wingo, “and we support who they selected,” said University Councilman Rasheed N.C. Wyatt.

Wingo, 35, is a youth minister who, until recently, worked for Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, which works to improve student academic performance. He defeated School Board member Barbara Belton-Cottman and political newcomer Lamone Gibson in the Democratic primary for the Masten seat.

Wingo has only nominal competition in the November general election, which will determine the Masten Council member for the next four years, starting Jan. 1 – the day after Smith’s term ends.

Belton-Cottman and community activist Yvette Suarez also applied for the temporary appointment.

Many of Wingo’s family members and campaign supporters attended his City Hall swearing-in ceremony Friday.

“Words cannot express the emotions I feel right now. I am eternally grateful,” Wingo said after being appointed.

As Masten councilman, he said, his three top priorities will be youth empowerment, crime and safety, and jobs and employment.

Crime is such a major concern in Masten, he said, that some people wouldn’t even open the door to talk to him when he was campaigning.