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Grand Island Town Board: Baney announces candidacy

Sat, Feb 25th 2017 07:00 am
Jennifer Baney is pictured with her husband, Brian, and children, Simeon, 5, and Titus, 1. (Photo by Aaron Bobeck)
Jennifer Baney is pictured with her husband, Brian, and children, Simeon, 5, and Titus, 1. (Photo by Aaron Bobeck)

Jennifer Baney of Grand Island has announced a potential candidacy for Grand Island Town Council.

"I'm thankful for the encouragement of others to run for this position and appreciate you taking just a few moments to learn about me and what I feel the core values and skills are that are needed for this important position," she said in a statement to the Dispatch.

Baney said her background is in the field of education, having earned consecutive degrees from both Houghton College and the University at Buffalo. She and her husband moved to Grand Island in 2009, she said, "appreciating the Island for its affordability, small-town feel, and beauty." She spent about a decade teaching, the majority of which was as a tenured teacher in the Williamsville Central School District.

"In 2011, coinciding with the birth of our first son, I decided to take a leave from teaching. Nearly six full years later, I've enjoyed the gift of being home with our children. This time away from the workplace has allowed me the opportunity to get more involved in our community. I serve on my oldest son's school board, have helped on the leadership boards of two local mom's groups, am active in leading a variety of activities at our church, and have just recently been asked to serve as a chairperson for a college fair coming to Buffalo in the fall. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities I've been given. I feel the skills I've gained as a teacher, wife, mother, leader and collaborator could all be beneficial to our town government," she said.

Saying she has spent the last year "engaging in and observing our political process on Grand Island. As stated earlier, at the encouragement of others, I've decided to pursue a position. As candidly as I can, here's what you could expect if I were to serve:

•Integrity: I am an honest person. No perceived need or goal within the town would ever be great enough to compromise my integrity. I want our children to be able to see our elected officials as pillars of honor and integrity. I feel there are ways to disagree without slandering or belittling. You will never have to question my motives, as I have no political ambitions beyond those of Grand Island. While our nation is so deeply divided at every level of government, I do believe that our Island can work together, despite our differences, as an exemplary community with leaders that can display appropriate behavior and admirable character. I will not make promises I can't keep or rush to complete projects within my term to gain praise or attention. I would govern well.

•Responsibility: I view the council position as an important one and one not to be taken lightly. I would work hard, constantly trying to represent the citizens best by balancing my personal convictions with feedback I receive from members of the community. I think it is important for elected officials to be in the community, not to be seen, but to listen. I would not take endorsements or support lightly. Those in leadership know that, when done well, it is not about power or attention, but very much about unnoticed, selfless service to others.

•Commitment: I view the council position as one in which the member must be accessible. If elected, I would commit to not pursuing or accepting any additional employment. Citizens need to be able to engage with their representatives, which can be challenging for both the representative and the citizen when the representative works a traditional schedule or is overcommitted. Within the professional realm, the town would be my No. 1 priority.

"Integrity, responsibility, and commitment, when boiled down to the basic level, are what it comes down to for me. I look forward to this upcoming season and wish for a respectful, thorough vetting process where you, as citizens, discern who will best serve to represent you. Let's keep Grand Island grand ... and also try to make it a bit grander."

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