Declares His Candidacy in Race for Erie County Legislator
Says focus will be on building bridges and bringing together diverse coalitions of supporters
I, Duncan Kirkwood, am running for Erie County Legislator in District 2 in the 2017 Election. As we enter the 2017 campaign, the focus will be on building bridges and bringing together diverse coalitions of supporters.
I was born to Iris and Marvell Kirkwood, the last of three children. We were raised in Central Park on the Eastside of Buffalo, a place where crime and violence was the norm. My parents were determined to make sure that I lived to the age of 18 and had a chance at life. They exposed me to creative writing classes, a traveling chess team with St. John Baptist Church, an African Rites of Passage program with Jack and Jill Inc. and other diverse opportunities.
After graduating fromhigh school, I accepted and committed to the Historically Black College, Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. There, I learned Black consciousness and the importance of fighting together to win in a system that is oppressive. While there, I sued the city of Montgomery to protect student voting rights. I used my ability to write and pass three State Laws while starting a statewide movement demanding excellence in education for all children. In broadening my global consciousness, I also led a Christian trip to Jerusalem. This led me to enlist in the Army National Guard so that I could serve my community.
In 2015, my wife Carolyn and I decided that we would start our life here in Buffalo. I decided I would use the skills and knowledge acquired to make Buffalo better. I was heartbroken to find when I returned, in the midst of a sea of prosperity, the neighborhood I grew up in was still filled with blight and hopelessness. As I became involved with a variety of organizations fighting for justice and equality, it was clear Erie County could do more for its citizens.
1. I will push to allocate an additional $4 million to expand wrap around services in our public schools. I will render support to the Buffalo Public School’s mission and vision under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Cash and the New Education Bargain.
2. I will assure the Erie County Legislative staff will be diverse and representative of the face of the people.
3. Due to the high percentage of children of color removed by Child Protective Services, I will call for a detailed analysis of data and demographics and what agencies financially benefit from it.
4. Erie County provides funding to over 60 non-profit organizations, with a handful being minority led. If elected, I will work to make sure the County allocates funds for more non-profits that represent the diversity of the county.
5. One of the least funded departments in the Erie County budget is Veterans Affairs. As someone who has served in the military, I will work to expand current and future transformations to support our Veterans across Western NY.
6 .I want to create a payment plan protocol for paying warrants and fines so the County does not harshly harm those in poverty who can't afford to pay.
7. I will work to transform the Erie County Holding Center to a place where citizens are treated with respect, and where they receive the physical and mental health care services they need.
Our elders have done incredible work in the community and we can never thank them enough. My generation can honor them by stepping up to carry the legacy forward. Research and policy change are necessary and I carry those strengths, and I believe I can affect great change. Lawmakers should write laws that significantly impact the community. If elected, I intend to do just that.
I have been a Democrat my entire life and believe in the principles of our party now more than ever. As an adult, I learned the “D” by someone’s name is important. What is more important, is a legislator’s ability to deliver lasting change for the community through legislation. “LET’S REACH FORWARD AND PUT PEOPLE OVER POLITICS!” Please visit my website: