By Jesse PR Prieto
News Editor Emeritus
Amid one of the most tumultuous times of our nation’s political history, it is important that we do not lose sight of two things: everyone’s vote counts, and everyone’s vote matters. When you drive in downtown Buffalo and the road feels like ski-moguls, it’s because you elected the wrong city officials. When you read about convicted rapist and Stanford student Brock Turner receiving a 6-month sentence at the discretion of the County Court Judge, that means the voters did not pay attention at the voting booth.
Local elections are at the heart of democracy. All over the country, state representatives, Judges, District Attorneys, and Town Councilmen and women are struggling to make themselves known. As a generation, we have an opportunity to make a significant impact this election. Voters in Erie County have a unique opportunity this year, because on Nov. 8, we will be electing a new District Attorney for a four-year term. Buffalo has its share of opportunities and challenges on the horizon. With the Buffalo renaissance building economic momentum and attracting new investments, there is opportunity to work and grow a stronger community. The heroin epidemic, crime rates, and racial fault lines in our society threaten any social progress we have made and endanger the possibility of moving forward. All too often, the weak and vulnerable are the ones taken advantage of, those forgotten without a voice.
I will be voting for Joe Treanor, a retired JAG (Judge Advocate General) Colonel with 28 years of international prosecuting experience. Treanor is self-funding his campaign to prove that no matter the party endorsement, he will not owe any favors. New York State has been rocked in recent weeks with corruption scandals across all levels of government, and I believe it is important to elect the man or woman with the most experience and integrity.
This letter is not about who I will vote for; it’s about who will you vote for. In a country where freedom of speech is assumed, I believe we have become apathetic. The only reason money can buy elections is because individuals walk into voting booths without any idea who is running aside from the Presidential candidate. Why is the two-party system failing? Because millions of people individually choose to vote uninformed, and millions more refuse to vote at all.
Every candidate has his own opinions, beliefs, and convictions, and it is a shame that we as a nation have decided to blindly divide all elections in two based on party affiliation rather than look at the merit and morals of each individually.
The Erie County District Attorney election will decide what “justice” means in the City of Buffalo. Will survivors of sexual assault have a voice? Will issues of racial injustice be given a fair and balanced hearing? Will the efforts of law enforcement to keep heroin off our streets be upheld in court?
Treanor has led over 100 criminal prosecutions dealing with cases against domestic child abusers to international terrorists, all the while maintaining a reputation for honesty and integrity. After being awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor in combat, Joe Treanor retired to Cheektowaga where he grew up. Rather than pursue a private sector law firm, Treanor spent his time doing pro-bono legal work for Veterans and those in need, and leading the United Way charity drive. If Buffalo and the greater Erie County area are going to make real social and economic progress in the years to come, we have to make conscious choices about who we want to lead our community. After all, every election, we choose who will lead our cities, states, and country into the future.
I will be voting for Joe Treanor for Erie County District Attorney, and I encourage you to research him yourself. One man, one vote; democracy is the great equalizer. On Nov. 8, we all have the power to decide what path our community will take. Let’s make sure we go in the right direction.