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India Walton calls mayoral campaign 'traumatic,' but thinks progressive politics still have a future in Buffalo

India Walton reflects on election loss
India Walton speaks with WBFO about her mayoral election loss and future plans during a Facebook Live event Dec. 2, 2021.

After her historic mayoral primary victory and campaign which made national and international headlines, India Walton is refocusing her energies elsewhere for now.

“My immediate next move is definitely spending time with my family reconnecting with my children,” she said while speaking to WBFO in an exclusive Facebook Live event Thursday.

Walton, the Democratic nominee, admits her campaign to unseat incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, while falling short, took its toll on her.

“Don't think that I've spoken a lot about how traumatic some parts of the last year has been so I have some personal healing to do,” she said. “Having all of the intimate details of my life displayed and played over and over again in the media and being hyper scrutinized on social media, but not only had impacts on myself, but my children and my family. So I'm really focusing on just regaining my strength.”

Some of Walton’s supporters may clamor for her to run for either school board or Common Council seat but neither of those positions excite her.

“I believe that people should be in positions because they are passionate about that position,” she said. “And that's what they want to do. And I would not want to occupy a school board or a common council seat as a stepping stone or catapult waiting for the next thing. My passion is broad impact is economic development, and those things don't happen necessarily on the school board or the city council.”

She participates in speaking engagements across the country, does consulting work and has job offers on the table which she is mulling over.

Looking back on her primary night victory speech Walton said her call for an influx of progressive candidates may have alienated the traditional democratic base in the city.

“We live in a place where so many people go unchallenged and are allowed to do a terrible job and because there's never any challenge they just keep doing the same thing,” she said. “When I said we are coming for every seat there are some people who didn't take that to heart because they do the work right and the people who were put off by me saying that is probably who I was speaking to.”

The contentious mayoral race and Brown’s courting of Republicans after being defeated in the primary has led to recent calls for him to leave the Democratic Party, a move Walton supports.

“The state Republican committee donated to him, it wasn't a secret,” she said. "It wasn't something that he can try and say wasn't a thing. This is not a conspiracy theory. It’s something that actually happened and unfortunately, it worked. But if you are a Republican, just say that.”

As a first time candidate Walton said she could have never have anticipated the tumult which accompanies running for office but is proud of the work that was done and is excited about the future for progressive candidates in the state.

“I think that not only do I have momentum personally but that progressive politics in Buffalo and Western New York and all across New York State is really finding its place in the electoral process.”

From the relationships she has built over the last year Walton believes the City of Buffalo already has everything it needs to be a city where there is opportunity for all — as long as the right people are put in place to make it happen.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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