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Erie County Legislature bids farewell to Grant & Morton

Mike Desmond

With flowers and speeches, the Erie County Legislature Thursday went through one of the annual rituals of elective politics, saying goodby to departing members. WBFO was there as Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Ted Morton attended their final meetings.

Morton left after two terms because of a defeat in November, while Grant is leaving because she decided not to seek another term.

Grant has perhaps the most unique resume in local politics: member of the Legislature, the Common Council and Buffalo School Board, as well as Buffalo mayoral candidate and co-owner of Grant Variety Shoppe on the city's East Side.

The departing legislator said she isn't retiring from activism, just from elective office.

"I tried to be as fair-minded as I could," Grant said. "I tried to recognize the other voices here, who belong on this side of the aisle or the other and I hope that when I was chairperson and minority leader, I exemplified the inclusiveness of this body because we are one body."

Legislator Kevin Hardwick pointed out that Grant started the Citizen of the Month honor, which is now a monthly event.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
District 8 Erie County Legislator Ted Morton bids his colleagues farewell.

Morton thanked members for helping him as a new member, four years ago.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman and my colleagues on this side of the aisle, for welcoming me four years ago," Morton said, "and it has been my honor and privilege to work with everyone here and to represent the people of the Eighth District."

Hardwick pointed out for Morton that the retiring legislator had donated a kidney to help out a person in need.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.