Legislature Chairwoman Provides Updates on Progress and Announces New Initiatives to Ensure Erie County Moves Forward with Inclusion and Equity for All
Erie County Legislature Chairwoman April N.M. Baskin gave her annual “State of District 2” address outside at the Northland Campus on September 12. Space was limited due to social distancing precautions, and a pre-packaged lunch was served to the 50 invited guests compliments of Manna’s Restaurant.
During the address Baskin presented a proclamation to Conway the Machine for his selfless contributions and activism during the peak of the COVID crisis in Erie County. A native of Buffalo’s East Side and a nationally acclaimed hip hop music artist, Conway provided food and other donations to frontline workers and impoverished Buffalo communities during Erie County’s COVID-19 peak last spring. “I want to thank Conway for all he has done for this community, and I also want to extend my most sincere gratitude to the sponsors of my event including Crews Control Media, the Delavan Grider Community Center, Manna’s, M&T Bank, and Northland. Together, we will continue to make progress towards our goals of representation and social justice for all.”
Since her election in 2017 Baskin has pursued an aggressive policy agenda focused on multiple issues that include transportation, housing, criminal justice reforms, youth services, and arts/cultural funding.
In her speech, Legislator Baskin highlighted the progress she has made.
Here are the highlights of some of those accomplishments:
•Negotiated a new Buffalo Public School bus pass system and COVID safe regulations with the NFTA.
•Spearheaded the creation of the Live Well Erie mobile services van
•Ensured PUSH Buffalo to receive Erie County funding by sponsoring the Fair Housing Act.
•Sponsored a Local Law to formally empanel the Erie County Corrections Specialist Advisory Board to provide permanent citizen oversight to the Sheriff’s Office.
•Sponsored a bail reform resolution, making Erie County the first county in New York State to adopt the elimination of cash bail as a formal policy.
•Negotiated funding for body cameras on Sheriff’s road patrol deputies last year
•Secured millions of dollars in county funding for programs that support children and families.
•Committed an additional $250,000 to a lead poisoning pilot program for children with elevated blood lead levels.
•Advocated for increased county funding to Say Yes Buffalo and all Operation Prime Time grant recipients
•Negotiated a policy with Erie County Department of Social Services that ended arm and leg shackling of youth offenders.
•Annually Hosts multiple kid and family friendly events including her Black History Bee, Cookies and Cocoa, Black Doll Exhibit, and backpack giveaways.
This year, Baskin worked with the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning to simplify the application for arts and cultural funding so more local artists are able to access county funding and will sponsor a local law later this year that mandates every county development project features a public art component.
During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Baskin demanded and secured a testing site for Buffalo residents on the East Side and coordinated multiple mask giveaways with block clubs and community organizations.
“We have accomplished so much together, but there is still work to do. I plan to introduce several new pieces of legislation still this year including a language access law that would require Erie County to translate communication materials prior to publication and another to support ending the practice of solitary confinement in our jail system. I’m also planning to modernize the County’s Minority-Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) regulations to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table when it comes to development in the New Buffalo and Erie County,” stated Legislator Baskin.
The event was live streamed on Facebook and can be viewed at Legislator Baskin’s offical Facebookpage @legislatorbaskin.
A host of dignitaries and were in attendance.