BUFFALO, N.Y. — Current Buffalo mayor Byron Brown sat down for an interview with 2 On Your Side investigative reporter Steve Brown on Thursday.
The conversation centered on the four-term mayor's plans to win a difficult write-in campaign against Democratic primary winner India Walton.
BYRON BROWN: We’ve made investments east, west, north and south in this city, and now with this campaign and what’s happening, it will be realized, not only in this community but across this county.
STEVE BROWN: You mentioned on Monday you’ve been contacted by thousands that encouraged you. Do you get any contacts that said, hey, maybe you should just let this go?
BYRON BROWN: We did. We did get some of those contacts as well, but very few, miniscule in relation to the thousands of people that said, "Do this." "This is for the future of of the city." "We want you to fight for the city." And "You are the only one at this time who can win this election and move our city forward."
STEVE BROWN: Are you afraid this is going to be divisive, not unifying, but actually dividing the city into camps?
BYRON BROWN: I don’t think it will be divisive. I didn’t run a divisive campaign in the primary. I didn’t say anything negative about my opponent.
STEVE BROWN: Also on Monday, on four occasions you described India Walton as a radical socialist. You also mentioned the word "fear" or "fearful" four times. Are you trying to make people afraid of her?
BYRON BROWN: I think people themselves are afraid of her. They have heard her positions. She’s talked about cutting the police department defunding the police department at a time when crime is going up in communities all across the country including here. What I have done is modernize the police department, professionalize the police department, consistently worked to make the police department and every department in the City of Buffalo better more efficient and stronger. Her brand of socialism is that, "I'm going to raise your taxes before even looking or understanding the city budget."
STEVE BROWN: It’s not like the city couldn’t use the money. Raising taxes brings in more money.
BYRON BROWN: It does.
STEVE BROWN: You have chosen often not to do so. Do you regret that?
BRYON BROWN: I do not regret that because we have high poverty in this community, a lot of people that rent in this community, a lot of families struggling to make end meet. By lowering taxes on homeowners and business owners, homeowners were able to invest in their properties. Young families were able to buy homes in the city of Buffalo and maintain them. Businesses were able to grow and be attracted to the city of Buffalo and create jobs for our community. And now as we come out of a pandemic, I don’t think it’s the time to raise taxes.
STEVE BROWN: For the folks you want to write-in your name on the ballot, what are they voting for aside from you what are they voting for? What can they expect in the next four years?
BYRON BROWN: They can expect more progress more business development, more investment, more job creation. They can expect better streets and sidewalks and curbs and lighting in the city of Buffalo. They can expect a city of opportunity and inclusion for all people. They can expect a city that is well-managed and a government that is well-respected not only here but all across the country.