When I announced my candidacy this spring, it was a bold move. A Democrat has not won this seat since Poloncarz, and the county has never elected an African American to its highest offices. I knew I was taking a huge personal, financial, and political risk. But it was the right thing to do.
What I found as I campaigned? An incredibly supportive community. Volunteers who gave up hours and hours of their time to educate voters and invite them to the polls. People who gave financial gifts from limited fixed incomes. And advocates who supported me across the county.
To my friends (new and old) and family, who called, knocked on doors, and donated your time and money, please know that I deeply value your love and support. The fact that over 90,000 Erie County residents put their confidence in me to oversee a 1.7 billion dollar budget is humbling and met with such gratitude. I am so honored that you trusted me enough to represent you in the Erie County Comptroller’s office. And deeply moved by your encouragement in the face of this disappointment.
The unending support from many others, including Jenny Bednasz, my amazing treasurer, Matt Biddle, my social media guru, Charlie Loudin, our talented copy editor, Kevin Hefferman, our amazing video producer, and my family, especially my husband Matthew, was invaluable, humbling, awe-inspiring, and marvelous all at once.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my campaign manager, Nikki Hitchcock. It was my honor to work with such a talented woman. From bargaining for lower prices and speech writing to encouraging words and offering her daughter up for exploding fist bumps that were great for morale, I couldn’t have been happier with the team that assembled around this passionate and thoughtful woman. You jumped in the middle of a race that needed a lot of help and killed it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the late hours and dedication that you certainly didn’t need to take on.
And, though we didn’t achieve our final goal, we did accomplish what we aimed to do. Had the same number of voters turned out as did in 2013, we likely would have won this election. That’s a big deal!
So, for all of you looking to change the world, don’t give up— I know I won’t.