BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A political hopeful is pushing his campaign to be Buffalo's next mayor. And he might look familiar - he's the former head of the Buffalo FBI.
Bernie Tolbert, who's trying to unseat Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary, has a new campaign office on Main Street.
"I've got over 40 years of progressive management and executive-level experience," Tolbert said. "All of our mayors have been the product of the political system. They've grown up in the political system. I represent someone who's seen another side."
The retired FBI agent also has a new endorsement from the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
"For me, it's a recognition on the part of our police department, who are working hard every day to address the crime issues, it's a recognition on their part that I know how to fight crime; that I will give them the support that they need, I will give them the tools, the manpower," Tolbert said.
Providing police with greater resources is a priority for Tolbert, who says there's still too much violent crime on city streets.
"Talk to people in the city of Buffalo, as I have. I've spent many, many hours walking neighborhoods. People don't feel safer in Buffalo," he said.
Tolbert has been highly visible at recent Buffalo School Board meetings. He's especially concerned about the State Education Department's academic intervention at Lafayette - his alma mater - and East High Schools, where less than 30 percent of students graduated last year.
"We have to focus on getting together, in a collaborative way, doing everything we can to build the partnerships necessary to get that turned around," Tolbert said.
Another of Tolbert's priorities - the local economy. He says while bringing business to downtown is great, development also needs to spread throughout Buffalo's neighborhoods.
And we need to create opportunities for young people and recent college graduates.
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