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Walton took Homes Guarantee pledge and rejected real estate money; grassroots leaders exposed opponent’s ties to billionaires, landlords, and real estate

WASHINGTON, D.C.–People’s Action and its Buffalo member organization Our City Action today congratulated India Walton for her stunning upset victory of 16-year incumbent Byron Brown in the mayoral Democratic primary in Buffalo, New York last night. Walton ran on a powerful intersectional platform built alongside Our City Action, People’s Action, and movement allies that included a Homes Guarantee. Walton’s winning platform will make Buffalo work for everyone, not just billionaires and real estate developers. 

“India Walton’s historic victory shows that when you campaign on progressive policies like a Homes Guarantee, stand with everyday people over billionaires, and run with the movement, you win,” People’s Action Movement Politics Director Brooke Adams said. “Walton inspired our volunteers to action by putting the focus exactly where it needed to be: building public structures for the people of Buffalo, not luxury real estate developments.”

The Buffalo News said Walton’s victory “may rank as the most historic upset in the city’s political history.”

People’s Action endorsed Walton in March, and grassroots leaders from its Homes Guarantee campaign went all-in with People’s Action Power to support her–phone banking, canvassing, and exposing her opponent’s ties to landlords and real estate developers. In a race with a current margin of 1,507 votes, Our City Action Buffalo and Homes Guarantee leaders with People’s Action Power made roughly 7,500 phone calls to support her campaign, alerting the people of Buffalo to the presence of a candidate on the ballot that would stand with them against wealthy special interests preying on their city. The Homes Guarantee team also ran a hackathon with two-dozen participants that exposed the deep campaign finance connections between the incumbent and landlords, luxury real estate developers, and billionaires. 

People’s Action also highlighted Walton’s candidacy for a national audience during their livestream event, “Movement Politics 2021: Reimagine Safety Up & Down the Ballot.”

“This victory has been a long time in the making and I’m proud to say that India has fought beside us since day 1,” Our City Action Buffalo Board President Maria Ta said. “She knows intimately the obstacles we have had to face to make any kind of substantive change in our city and I am confident in her vision and leadership as we look towards a city government by, for, and with the people. This is the culmination of years of community building and community organizing. From the classrooms of public school buildings to city hall, the people of Buffalo have spoken. We are prepared to govern and we are prepared to win.” 

“We witnessed the power of the people with a vision and determination to change an entrenched political machine that has never worked for the working class community that is Buffalo,” People’s Action board member and PUSH Buffalo Executive Director Rahwa Ghirmatzion said. “India’s campaign was rooted in collective work and responsibility to meet the true needs of the people. We were told that this was impossible, and last night we showed what was possible when India Walton stood in a diverse room of supporters to claim our victory. Organizing rooted in the people’s power won and the momentum is just beginning for Our City.”

“India Walton stood up in a political environment dominated by landlords and predatory real estate developers and declared that everyone deserves a safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable home,” People’s Action Housing Campaign Director Tara Raghuveer said. “Then, she took a pledge not to take developer money while her opponent got his biggest donations from that sector. People notice when you stand with them over the people profiting from their suffering and stress.” 

As a result of India Walton’s victory, grassroots housing leaders have victory in sight for a Buffalo Tenants’ Bill of Rights that includes rent control. 

“Bottom line,” Raghuveer added, “Buffalo is getting a Homes Guarantee mayor.”

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People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations in 30 states, united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations coordinated one of the biggest distributed organizing programs in rural areas this past election season and recently launched its Rise Up 2022 strategy to boost progressive power in national politics.

Contact: Derrick Crowe, press@peoplesaction.org, 512.516.5067

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Press Contact
Derrick Crowe

(512) 516-5067

About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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