When Ben Carlisle arrived at Queen City in 2003, he hadn’t planned on staying very long.
In fact, the then 22-year-old undergraduate moved only to complete his bachelor’s degree and attend UB law school. Twenty-two years later, Carlisle is a writing candidate for the most competitive municipal election the city has seen in nearly two decades.
“I made this decision [to consider running for mayor] right after the June primary and a month later I decided to run, âCarlisle said in an interview with Spectrum. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life – it really was an impromptu decision.”
While he always thought about running for political office, Carlisle says he never imagined running for mayor of Buffalo. For him, the decision was an unlikely plan prompted by the desire to give the Oxen “more than two options.”
“I am running for mayor of Buffalo because I firmly believe that voters should not have to choose between socialism and the status quo,” Carlisle wrote in a campaign flyer. âBuffalo is in desperate need of a change in leadership. And only Byron Brown could make socialism a rational alternative to years of corruption and incompetence. I refuse to accept Byron Brown’s false choice of four more years or four years of experience in socialism and police funding. “
Carlisle says he saw Walton’s upset loss to Brown in the Democratic primary as a âgreat opportunityâ to enter the race. He has since resigned as a lawyer to devote himself fully to his campaign.
Carlisle’s goal to enter the race echoes that of fellow candidate Jaz Miles, a former Assembly candidate.
âTo restore the republic, we are moving so far away from what our country is meant to be and we are really destroying our individuality and taking away our rights,â Miles said. Spectrum. âSo when the race was held earlier this year and India Walton managed to defeat Byron Brown in the primary, I thought it would be a great opportunity for an ordinary person, someone of us. , to get involved in politics, which is how it’s supposed to be to begin with.
Carlisle calls party politics “rigid” and says it often compromises the interests of the people. Long before he ran for mayor, Carlisle began to chart his own course and in doing so learned the importance of hard work.
âWe didn’t have a lot of money when we were kids, we moved around a lot,â Carlisle said. âMy parents were in the ministry and my father was always the principal of small Christian schools all over the country. My mother has always been a teacher in these schools.
At the age of nine, Carlisle delivered newspapers at 5:30 a.m. every morning. At 14, he was picking watermelons and cantaloupe for less than $ 5 / hour in the scorching summer heat.
âI was never afraid to go out there and find a new solution and work hard to improve my situation,â Carlisle said.
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Soon, these new solutions resulted in a full-fledged campaign. But Carlisle says he’ll never forget why his pin finally landed on Buffalo.
âI think graduating from UB was when I first fell in love with Buffalo,â he said. “As my attachment to Buffalo grew stronger and stronger, it was always initially through my connection to UB that brought me here, so he holds a very dear place in my heart.”
Carlisle describes his time at UB as a “typical” college experience characterized by commuting to town and having little time to attend class, do homework, and participate in a mock trial when he had a job. free time. Carlisle says his instructors, like Judge Thomas Franczyk, showed him the connection between the classroom and the city, which has become an essential part of his education.
Although the majority of UB students cannot participate in the mayoral election because they are not registered to vote in the city of Buffalo, Carlisle says the race will undoubtedly have an impact on life. of campus.
“They [students] must know that it affects them, âhe said.
Mandates for vaccines and masks are an area that could change under a new administration. Outgoing mayor Byron Brown has not implemented a vaccine passport system, while Democratic candidate India Walton has embraced the idea. Carlisle recently showed solidarity with the Moog workers as they stepped out to protest the COVID-19 warrants.
âI don’t think you, as UB students, should be forced to take an experimental vaccine as a condition of getting an education,â he said. About 99% of students are currently fully immunized.
Students will also be affected by where the next Bills stadium will be built. After witnessing the success of UB’s football and basketball teams in recent years, Carlisle believes a downtown stadium would attract more students and provide a vibrant experience in the city. The Bills lease on Highmark Stadium will expire in July 2023.
âThe more Buffalo does, I think, the better UB does,â Carlisle said.
Jack Porcari is the Senior News and Articles Editor and can be reached at [email protected]trum.com
Jack Porcari is Senior News / Articles Editor at Spectrum. He graduated in political science with a minor in journalism. In addition to writing and editing, he enjoys playing the piano, flow arts, reptiles, and activism.
Photo: Courtesy of UB Athletics