Kim Beaty and the Race for Sheriff: Buffalo Blacks On A Political Plantation
(EDITORS. NOTE: Columnist and former County Legislator, activist Betty Jean Grant , has been on the case from day one. A few months ago, after Kim Beaty was discouraged by the Democratic party chair from running, and dropped out of the race, Grant wrote, “… I have come to the conclusion that the Erie County Democratic Committee is not going to respect Black Democrats as a political force to be reckoned with, until we realize our worth and the power we give to the party here in Erie County. Black Erie County voters vote almost exclusively democrat. But when we Blacks run for a countywide position, we are either discouraged from running or, if we do snag the endorsement, we are not supported financially as much as non-Black candidates” As we know, Ms. Beaty, after an impressive show of community support, re-entered the race. In last week’s Sunday News Beaty revealed to the public at large, the trials she faced during that time, including being told by Democratic Chair Zellner that she’s “not what a sheriff looks like.” Zellner said the News article was “offensive and filled with falsehoods.” We know Kimberly Beaty to be an upstanding citizen and public servant whose honorable reputation speaks for itself. )
commentary by Betty Jean Grant
At least every other year there is a major political election in Buffalo or Erie County. Whether the political office is a common council seat in Buffalo or a countywide mad dash to be elected comptroller, clerk or county executive, Buffalo’s democratic committee members and voters are actively involved. However, sadly and unfortunately, for the African American community, our participation is not sought or solicited for anything beyond our votes to elect other ethnic groups to these county wide offices.
Granted, the Erie County Democratic Committee did endorse Vanessa Glushefski for County Comptroller and Bernie Tolbert for Erie County Sheriff in 2017. But one has to wonder how sincere and committed were those endorsements when neither Ms. Glushefski nor Mr. Tolbert’s campaigns were supported or financed as strongly as other non African American candidates have been, in these same past elections.
Right now, the Buffalo community is proud that one of its smartest, strongest and most compassionate former police officers, Kimberly Beaty, is running a county wide race for the position of Sheriff of Erie County. The fact that she is a Black female should not be a topic of discussion or a hindrance in her garnering support and getting votes from all parts of Erie County. After all Black people have been voting for White people to be elected to these county offices for just about forever. What we expect now is for those same suburban voters to return that support by voting for one of us when we are qualified and decide to ‘dip our toes into the county’s political wading pool.’
Kimberly Beaty has a resume that can compete and overshadow everyone who is running for Sheriff of Erie County. She has a 34 year career in the Buffalo Police Department as a patrol officer, teacher in the police academy, police chief at E District Police Station and finally as Deputy Police Commissioner. Ms. Beaty is currently employed as Director of Public Safety for Canisius College.
Kimberly Beaty is competent enough to run the Sheriff’s office but, according to her, the leader of the local Democrats stated that she has the ‘wrong look’ for a sheriff. Comments like that seem to sound like something Black people might hear during slavery times or at least the Jim Crow era.
On Primary Day, June 22nd, please go to the polls and vote for Kimberly Beaty for Erie County Sheriff. Or to make sure your vote counts as soon as it can, Early Voting starts Saturday, June 12, 2021. Kimberly Beaty is what a Sheriff looks like! And she can win!