BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant hopes to be the first woman elected as mayor of Buffalo. Grant officially joined the race on Sunday.
She faces incumbent Mayor Byron Brown and Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder in the Democratic primary in September.
Grant has been talking about running for the office for months, she sat down with News 4 in February to discuss the option.
She told News 4 the tipping point was the decision last week to build the city’s new train station downtown, instead of at the Central Terminal. Grant said the process wasn’t transparent enough and was a sign the city needs a change at the top.
“I think I’m as qualified as anybody else and maybe a little bit more,” said Grant.
Grant has been on the County Legislature for 10 years. Prior to that, she represented the University District on the Common Council and the Ferry District on the Buffalo School Board.
Grant commended Mayor Brown for his work developing Canalside, the medical corridor and Solar City but said parts of the city have been left behind.
She told News 4 as mayor she would work to redevelop the East Side and South Buffalo. She also wants to fix crumbling sidewalks and create job training programs.
“In order to get them off the street corners you have to give them viable options, not just say go to McDonalds or go to a nursing home,” said Grant. “Give them a skill, a trade, an opportunity.”
Grant told News 4 this will help reduce the homicide rate in the city.
“He has to be able to go to a job, you have to provide him that opportunity,” said Grant. “We have not done this as a city.”
Grant acknowledges Comptroller Schroeder has a strong community presence but told News 4 she also brings that to the table. She mentioned her work with the group “We are the Women Warriors” she founded four years ago.
By choosing to run for mayor, Grant is giving up her seat on the County Legislature.
“When I saw what can I do as legislator and what can I do as a mayor and how can I best help those who have nobody to advocate for them, those who don’t know how to navigate the process, those who don’t know how to confront those in leadership positions to direct resources over here, I felt my better place to be would be as a mayoral candidate,” said Grant.
Mayor Brown is seeking a fourth term in office. He would be only the second Buffalo mayor to serve 16 years.
This is Comptroller Schroeder’s first bid for mayor.