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Friends Let Friends Run For Office

I’ve known Rory Allen for quite some time now. That’s why when he told me that he was running for political office, I had to look at him twice… a friend running for office? Don’t politicians run for office? That’s usually the case in Buffalo. I’ve had friends run in the past I guess, but even those people had a political bent… or aspiration. It never occurred to me that Rory would run for state senate. To me he was a business guy… an entrepreneur – owner of Zoom Copy. I know that there are unprecedented numbers of business people running for political positions these days… some right here in Buffalo. You want to believe that a business person knows what to do when the city is starving for business. Often times that is not the case. That’s why I wanted to inquire from Rory what sort of ideas he had that would help to bolster the local economy. In addition, what about his views regarding other aspects of the city? The more I talked to him, the more I felt that I should pass along Rory’s sentiments. This all occurred when I was having lunch at Washington Market… that’s also when I opened up my computer and began to type as Rory plowed through his policy:

“In the spirit of being a politician,” he started. “I think that it should be like serving in the military. What are you going to do in ten years that you can’t do in two? If all you have ever done is politics, and you haven’t been in the shoes of a business person, then how do you know what the business community wants or needs? I decided that instead of complaining, I was going to figure out a way to bring to Buffalo the basic things that would make the city more competitive? We have high taxes here and that is a problem. It’s also a problem that is not going to get fixed overnight. That’s why the taxpayers should get something above and beyond what is expected… something in return. I’m a supporter of great public transportation…

“WNY should embrace the idea that public transportation should be better than private transportation. It costs money initially, but that investment will pay of in the long run. I’m such an admirer of train transportation. Cities with better train systems are better cities – it’s a symbol of the priorities of your area. We need to connect Downstate and Upstate and Toronto to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Any sort of train infrastructure is important. It’s about accessibility. Whether it’s a trolley or a train – it’s about people wanting to use public transportation… it’s about making the routes accessible. Young people want to be where the action is. Our biggest failure as city is the urban planning and the urban architecture. I think that the Pano’s building was designed in a way that maintained the attractiveness of the city. People want to walk by it, and walk into it. We need to design more places where people want to walk. We need to slow down the speed of cars in our neighborhoods. Look at Dorchester – where they put a curb up to deter traffic from racing up and down the street. Cars are meant to go fast on highways, not Linwood and Richmond. Those streets are for houses and people.The rule of thumb should be pedestrian first, then bicycle then automobile. My plan is to have experts look at everything – make the bad good and make the good better. There is a lack of ideas right now. I will open doors to people with vision and desire. This is not about the individual, it’s about the masses. When I lived in San Francisco we wanted to live in the city because the commute from the suburbs was too long. For so long we have gone without, here in Buffalo. Take the infrastructure improvements at Main and Tupper – it’s the perfect example of making the city friendlier. We’re repaving roads over and over yet rarely making improvements.

“As for bringing business here – I am proactively going out and identifying the right companies that could help to complete the vision for our community. I want to make sure that college grads don’t just leave town – my goal is to make sure that they have a job and an option to stay. We need to support and promote projects that adhere to new urbanist principles – Niagara Falls, NY is an excellent example. Nobody has designed a place that is worth walking around. We need to seek out true urban architects who subscribe to new urbanist theories. Taxes can be a barrier, but if you can create a great city where people want to live, and quality of life comes first, then businesses just might be attracted to the area. That means supporting the existing economies that are making it happen, like UB and the Medical Campus. As for my goals, here are some of the key points:

“I love WNY. I don’t want to just see it come back, I want to see it flourish. And how do we do that? By attracting businesses and ultimately jobs, to our great region.”

“The state constitution needs reform. Downstate politicians keep upstate democrats back on their heels by dangling pork money in front of them, essentially bribing them to go along with their votes. It’s short term gain for long term pain.”

“On attracting new business to Western NY (not just buffalo)… I will proactively identify prospective businesses (employers), meet with their key executives, listen to what we need to do to attract them to our region and lobby for those requests with other state legislatures.”

“As far as marketing Western NY, we should be polling the people who are visiting here and getting their feedback. Embracing the truth is always a good strategy, rather then trying to be something we are not.”

“I think we need to address so many of our teenagers who are good kids but who may be on a bad path. I think we need alternative high schools that take a boot camp approach to instilling discipline and self worth. As a product of the military, I saw these same benefits in my own life. Some teenagers should be able to volunteer themselves to a program that takes them out of their environment and gives them a chance for a good path in life. There should be no compromises when it comes to setting up our young people for success in life.” 

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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