India Walton talks plans for office, building relationships with city leaders

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With all signs pointing toward India Walton as the lone name for Mayor of Buffalo on this November’s ballot, history is in the making.

Walton will be the first female mayor in the Queen City, as well as the first socialist mayor of a city this size in 60 years.

This victory is also a major upset. Walton will unseat incumbent Mayor Byron Brown who was running for an unprecedented fifth term.

“Politics is a game of curveball,” said political analyst Carl Calabrese. “Just when you think you have it figured out, a new pitch comes in that you haven’t seen before – that’s what happened last night.”

Walton – a nurse and community activist – has never held a position in politics. She told News 4 she’s ready to take on the task with others in the city.

“As council members we have to work with the mayor to build this city together, to work together and grow more neighborhoods together,” said Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski. “So regardless who is elected mayor, we have to work with that person.”

According to Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans, many officers he spoke with after the results came in are now planning to retire this year.

“Her actions have not made the job any easier or any less dangerous for the officers on the street,” Evans said “I guess we’re going to take a ‘wait and see’ approach as far as our relationship going forward, but I want to say things are grim.”

Walton said she will work with those who are willing to work with her.

“I have a history of success, a successful history, of being able to work with folks that I may not agree with on everything. But this is our community being as safe as possible and people thriving,” she said.

We have not heard from Mayor Brown since he spoke to the crowd at his headquarters Tuesday night, calling for every vote to be counted.

Walton is leading with roughly 1,500 votes – meaning the Mayor will need the majority of absentee ballots to be in his favor in order to come out on top.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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