Walton was born and raised on Buffalo’s East Side and became a full-time working mother at the age of 14. Walton earned her GED while pregnant and went on to graduate from SUNY Erie School of Nursing. Working as a nurse in Buffalo Public Schools, Walton has served as a longtime community advocate. Walton has since become a community organizer for Open Buffalo, a civic initiative to make long-term improvements in justice and equality, and the founding executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust.
Walton wants to bring accountability, transparency, and community-centered service to the Buffalo Police Department by removing police from responding to most mental health calls, establishing a new mental health crises response that utilizes mental health professionals, ending enforcement of low-level drug possession, ordering a full review of the city’s ability to discipline and fire bad police officers, and making more police data public. Later on, Walton will provide more training for police officers and fund crime prevention strategies and community-oriented public safety divisions.
Walton plans to sign the Tenant’s Bill of Rights, provide financial relief to small landlords in exchange for rent forgiveness for tenants, direct an emergency stay on the demolition of historically designated buildings, and amend landlord registration within her first 100 days. Walton also plans to implement a comprehensive land use policy that sets aside 50% of city-owned vacant parcels for public good, as well as the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act upon enactment by the NYS legislature.
Walton will declare Buffalo a sanctuary city and end BPD cooperation with ICE. Walton will also dedicate funding for legal services that offer options to grant fee waivers for adjustment of status fees, work permit fees, citizenship fees, and DACA fees, as well as improve language access throughout the city.
Environmental Reform/Climate Change
Walton supports the passage of the NYS Climate Leadership and Protection Investments Act and the production of Buffalo’s first comprehensive Climate Action Plan. Walton additionally wants to establish and office of sustainability and a “Re-Tree” initiative, as well as convert City of Buffalo fleets to electric cars.
Walton wants to commit to full Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise compliance for city-funded projects and prioritize small and minority-owned local businesses through the RFP process within her first 100 days. Walton will also work to establish a public bank and a comprehensive and transparent participatory budgeting process. Finally, Walton will commit to commissioning local and underrepresented artists and art forms for city contracts and treating the arts as the economic driver it is.
Walton wants to appoint a staff person to attend Board of Education meetings, create a dedicated budget line for Buffalo Public Schools separate from the general fund, and partner with local companies, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and city departments to create paid internships for students, all in order to improve the quality and funding of public education in Buffalo.
New York Working Families Party, People’s Action, Progressive Women of New York, Run for Something, Democratic Socialists of America, Buffalo Democratic Socialists of America, Elect Black Women PAC, Our City Action Buffalo, Democracy for America, Our Revolution, The Challenger News