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India Walton Set To Make History As The First Woman Mayor of Buffalo, New York

India Walton Set To Make History As The First Woman Mayor of Buffalo, New York

She’s new to politics but defeated a four-term incumbent!

India Walton is set to make history as the first Black woman mayor of Buffalo, New York, CNN reports.

Walton is a socialist, nurse, and community organizer who ran her campaign on progressive reform for the city. Walton was born in Buffalo’s economically disadvantaged east side and became a mother at 14. After earning her GED while pregnant, she became a nurse in the same hospital where her twins were born. The mayoral candidate said it’s been her journey, becoming a mother of three children by the age of 19, dealing with their varying medical issues, and charting her journey to becoming a nurse and organizer that has influenced her politics. She refers to her plans as a complete 180 from the norm, intending to implement socialism in the city.

“[My plan] is to put our resources into community, into neighborhoods, and govern in a deeply democratic way that the people who are governed have say over the decision-making process and how resources are deployed in our community,” Walton told reporters.

The 38-year-old was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party. During the primary, she defeated four-time incumbent Byron Brown, former chairman of the New York Democratic Party and a close friend of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Her remarkable win in the primary makes her a shoo-in to win the general election. Democrats have won every race in Buffalo since 1965, and Republicans have yet to produce a candidate.

After her victory, Walton called her mom to give her the good news. 

“Mommy, I won! Mommy, I’m the mayor of Buffalo -- well, not until January, but yeah,” she exclaimed.

When asked by reporters if she was surprised by her victory, she said she wasn’t.

“Not really. We set out about a year ago to do exactly what we did. We knew that this race was going to require help from outside of our local geographic area, we knew that we needed to garner national attention to challenge a 16-year heavily entrenched incumbent, and the people spoke,” said Walton. 

If confirmed in the general election, Walton will become the first socialist mayor of a large American city since Frank P. Zeidler, the mayor of Milwaukee who left office in 1960. She will also make history as the first Black woman mayor of Buffalo. Walton says she believes it is time to usher Buffalo into a new era of leadership.

“We have lived through decades of the trickle-down theory, believing that if you build it, they will come, and we have not built anything, many things at all for the folks who have stuck out economic downturn, [and] population job loss in the Buffalo community. So we are looking forward to doing things differently, and I’m so excited we are ushering in a new era of progressive leadership in Buffalo, New York,” Walton said. 

She makes up a large group of progressive politicians, looking to oust the old guard in favor of a more perfect union. Walton had a message at her victory party for those looking to maintain the status quo in New York.

“If you are in an elected office right now, you are being put on notice. We are coming,” she said.

Congratulations, India!

Photo Courtesy of New York Mag