We’re Done for Now, But We’re Not Done Yet!

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.


 

An Election Day Thank You to Team Vanessa

For the past several weeks, I have had a countdown to Election Day running on my desktop. Campaigns are taxing, and county campaigns are especially tricky because there are so many voters to reach spread across such a large area. This day felt like it could not come fast enough, yet it seemed to be approaching too quickly at the same time.

But for every moment that I have felt overwhelmed or nervous or exhausted, I have had ten moments where I was amazed, grateful, and encouraged. Meeting so many of Erie County’s voters has been a privilege. I learned so much about our communities by listening to our voters, and I will carry that knowledge with me to help me serve you better.

This campaign has been surrounded by incredible support. Families joining in parades to march, young people canvassing and phone banking, retired individuals showing up first thing in the morning to write postcards for hours… the list goes on!

Erie County, so many of you have shown up to demand better. Your volunteerism does more than a glossy TV ad ever could. You’ve touched voters with your care, your concern, and your commitment. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trust you’ve placed in me. While Republicans may be able to count their campaign contributions in dollars, the contribution of your time is truly priceless.

Now, please, go out and Vote Vanessa!

When You Lie With Dogs: What Stefan's Friends Tell Us About His Character

Aesop famously said, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” Every single day, Stefan shows Erie County who he is by who he associates with. Here’s two ways  to know the content of Stefan’s character.

  1. His funders: Remember the Tonawanda Coke crisis? The one that left thousands of residents exposed to toxins over the course of years because of gross negligence? Well, their sister company, led by the same man, is Stefan’s largest campaign contributor. Can we trust him to stand up for us when a quarter of his contributions this year were paid for by this agent of so much ill in our community? And the others on the list? Ciminelli. Carl Paladino. Chris Collins. An oil pipeline. Michael Flaherty, the DA who would decline to prosecute him. Developers who pay for his campaign as he writes reports against affordable housing. All of these individuals and businesses that have backed his campaign represent potentials conflicts when it comes time for him to decide whether to serve their interests or the interests of Erie County taxpayers.

  2. His candidates and supporters: Trump, Collins, Caputo, and Grant. Remember when Stefan raced to Ohio to meet Trump, pledging that he was certain he could gain local support for him in Erie County. Or when he served as the spokesperson for Chris Collins? Or when Caputo and Grant took to Twitter to defend him using insulting, demeaning language, including sexist slurs? When Stefan appears on a Grant-sanctioned mailer attempting to drive fear and hate into our community, he’s showing us who he really is. He’s engaging in Trump-style politics in Western New York, complete with a colluding strategist for the Russian government.

It’s only fair to apply the same standard to myself. How can you better know me? What company am I keeping?

Well, first and foremost, I’m proud to have earned the endorsement of 12 labor unions, leaders from all over Western New York, the State Comptroller, and others. I’m known for my work in nonprofit organizations, and I deeply care for my church community, Lafayette Presbyterian Church. I stood with Michelle Schoeneman, and held the line with CWA. I’ve donated to the campaigns of April Baskin and Monica Wallace.

My campaign dollars came from community members like you. CPAs, accountants, and attorneys have all expressed their support. Local nonprofits and advocacy groups have shown up in full force. And committed groups of concerned citizens including retired teachers, mothers of young children, local pastors, and other democratic leaders have all shown their support.

I am grateful, and I am humbled. My allies and friends show me to be hardworking, transparent, and socially concerned. My funding sources show that I am beholden only to our community.

So please, come vote with me Tuesday. And stop Stefan from using his office to entertain favors and an agenda of hate. Let’s fight for fairness, kindness, honesty, and hard work.

PEF Offers Glushefski Endorsement

Vanessa is honored to receive the support of the Public Employees Federation. This New York-based union represents over 54,000 New York State employees. 

This endorsement marks Vanessa's twelth union endorsement. The support of civil servants is especially important to the candidate as she will be working in tandem with them in her role as Comptroller. 

"I am thankful for the faith PEF has placed in me. I look forward to earning that trust by working together with unions to build a more prosperous region," Glushefski shared.

Tall Tales Stefan Tells

As an avid reader, I love a good story line. But when it comes to governance, I prefer non-fiction. The more I hear from the current Comptroller, the more I realize he has woven himself quite a tangled web. Let’s take a second to examine some of Stefan’s tall tales.

 

1) “I hired the first female CPA as deputy” - Often made remark during campaign speeches.

Truthiness: Not entirely false, because he did hire a woman CPA, but following a scandal involving some totes of private information, she resigned just a few months into the job and was replaced by political appointments with zero (like none!) accounting or finance experience.

2) “His award-winning investigative reports uncovered numerous cases of fraud, waste, and abuse in Erie County government that lead to good government reforms that better served taxpayers. “ - Narrative on website.

Truthiness: Stefan claims to have focused on waste and abuse in Erie County, and that those reports won awards! Which awards, Stefan? From whom? What years? For which stories? We think it is interesting that you don’t list them anywhere.

3) “I’m damn proud of my ivy league education” -Statement quoted in an article by Sandra Tan

Truthiness: Stefan claims to have an Ivy League education, but what he means is that he got a Bachelors in Journalism from Syracuse University and then took a weekend class at Harvard. And that his campaign contributors paid for it.

4) “In my 20 years of journalism experience…” - League of Women Voters

Truthiness: Stefan is 42 and has served as Comptroller for 5 years. He hasn’t been in an official journalism position in ten years. Even if he began working as an intern, it’s clear that his math is ALL kinds of messed up here. Is he trying to look older? More refined? More experienced? Regardless, it’s embarrassing.

5) “I’ve completed multiple audits…”- To Buffalo News and Others

Truthiness: Stefan is not an accountant, but if he were he’d know that reviewing a single process or a minute corner of an office’s function is not an audit at all. When we demand full compliance and financial audits of the Sheriff’s Office, we mean an exhaustive audit, not just for a press release, but to avoid the loss of human lives and millions of dollars.

6) “Under my leadership our office was awarded...” - Frequent campaign statement

Truthiness: Stefan often likes to brag about his role implementing change in the department, starting with receiving an award for the year 2012. The problem? Stefan didn’t take office in 2012. He was elected in November and took his oath even later. This is an award for the year in which he did no work. And if awards were being given, why aren’t they listed on the website’s awards section?

7) “I implemented the (insert thing accomplished by a previous comptroller)!” -Frequent campaign statement

Truthiness: Whether it’s Poloncarz’s risk matrix, or Shenk’s Water Authority audit, Stefan spends a lot of time criticizing Democrats and even more time taking credit for their work.