By Michael Mottern

For the Common Council seat representing North Buffalo, incumbent Joseph Golombek, Jr, is being challenged by progressive Eve Shippens in the June 27 election. FUN FACT: Golombek is the reason why I even got to graduate from Buffalo State College, with my interest in history, in the first place! He was my professor there, when I met him for the first time at a Democratic Primary presidential fundraiser for 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and anti-war progressive Dennis Kucinich. 

But he turned out to be not so progressive on other issues. I once asked Joe about what he thought about rehabilitating old freight houses for possible use in Buffalo’s new renaissance several years ago. At that time, it didn’t work, but when Mayor Brown and gentrification came into play, he was totally on board. This would have rehabilitated the old freight houses on Military Road, that Joe said, “were too much off the beaten path,” in the heart of his district that could have connected to the new development on Niagara Street.

I met his opponent, Eve Shippens, for the first time in Buffalo’s Olmsted Bidwell Park, at a Bernie Sanders campaign rally, when Bernie started gaining momentum for the first time in his 2016 presidential run. She looked familiar, and I couldn’t pinpoint the face so I asked her, do I know you? And she said: I am a science teacher in Buffalo, and I said, that makes sense at this rally!! Bernie, a Social Democratic Jewish politician that caucuses with the Democrats and that year won 22 States in the primary election for President was right up our alley, both for myself, Eve and Social Democrats USA.

Unlike incumbent council member Joseph Golombek Jr, who is no stranger to American gentrification with Mayor Byron Brown and the big developers at the helm, Eve Shippens is receiving the endorsement of the Working Families Party of Western New York. Her long history as a leader in the NYS teachers union and her family’s traditional labor activity makes Social Democrats USA proud to endorse her as well. 

We are confident she will do a great job in the Common Council as a community leader and as a working-class mom who knows what it’s like to pay a mortgage bill and raise children, and eschew the dark money contributions from the Erie County Democrats that do nothing but lobby on behalf of big business and their biggest donors. It will be heart-wrenching not to give Eve a chance after all the work she has put into progressive causes and making sure everybody has the right to organize a union!

We look forward to working with her in the future and sharing her candidacy as a national organization that can contribute as a teaching hospital of the Democratic Left.

Michael Mottern is the first vice chair of Social Democrats USA. 

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