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Former Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton announces bid for city council seat

"I am community-minded and community focused. I'm all about the people."
India Walton
India Walton and Pheben Kassahun
Posted at 11:57 PM, Feb 01, 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A familiar face in Buffalo politics is making her return to the City's political scene.

Former Buffalo Mayoral candidate, India Walton, announcing her bid to run for the City's common council.

She is planning to run for the Masten District.

7 News' Pheben Kassahun sat down with her Wednesday afternoon to discuss her plans, and to learn why she is stepping back into the political spotlight.

A little over a year after losing in the 2021 Buffalo Mayoral Race, India Walton is restarting her run for political office. This time, it is a smaller scale.

"I see so many disparities every time we face a crisis, particularly in this neighborhood, and I want to be able to do something about it," India Walton told Kassahun in her kitchen.

The last time 7 News spoke with Walton about her run was in December 2021, where Kassahun had an exclusive one-on-one interview with her after mayoral race against Mayor Byron Brown.

PREVIOUS STORY: 'It's just been an incredible and amazing experience': India Walton reflects on mayoral campaign

She said she has a different approach and mindset saying she is been doing a lot of healing and a lot of self-work.

"I work with executive coaches and mentors across the board. I have been really just thinking deeply about own political center and values and how I stay true to that. Also, having a message is resonant with voters and everyday people, and also with elected officials," she explained. "We definitely want to address out-of-town and absentee landlords, while also finding ways to bring support for small, local landlords to be able to maintain and improve the condition of the housing."

The licensed registered nurse and advocate used to live in the City's Niagara District, but she has since moved to the Masten District, where she bought a house late last year.

"I definitely think that Masten is right for the proliferation of small businesses. I really want to be able to support not only small businesses, but also expand cooperatively-owned, and worker-owned businesses. I want to work on infrastructure. I want to make sure our street lights are working, that we have trees and basic things like that, that really just improves the feel of the neighborhood," Walton explained.

Walton said she wanted to be the "office of comfort" and be a person embedded in the community and to be more of a partner to her constituents.

"I am community-minded and community focused. I'm all about the people. I think one of the most important things that I want to do is not have an office solely in City Hall, but also have one in the neighborhood. I want to make sure that meetings are supposed to be public, advertised. I want to be sure that I am communicating effectively, concisely and transparently," Walton said.

Walton said her main focus for her campaign will be the housing crisis, which is something Governor Hochul wants to invest nearly $400 million on in this year's budget, which was also announced, Wednesday.

"I think the number one issue that a lot of people are facing right now is the housing crisis, especially on the heels of the unprecedented blizzard, thinking that folks are without a home or housing insecure, knowing that homeowners need help with repairs to their homes, renting houses that are inadequate," she said.

Pheben: If you do run, there will be some sort of a dynamic change. You were running against Mayor Byron Brown and now you'll be on the same team as him. Talk about that.

"I look forward to working with the Mayor. Even in the midst of campaigning against him, I have always said that I have respect for him. He was the first Black mayor of the City of Buffalo, but I think there is always room for fresh ideas and for another perspective," she said.

She will be running against current Masten District Council Member Ulysees Wingo who released this statement to 7 News:

"I try and encourage Masten residents to be civically engaged at every level. If seeking an elected position is that level, then that's their right to seek a political office."

Ulysees Wingo
City of Buffalo Common Council Member for the Masten District