Jerry Sullivan (WIVB): “India Walton is out to conquer the world, or at least Buffalo”

“Doris Siddiq didn’t expect it to happen this soon, but she can’t say she was surprised when her daughter decided to run for mayor. Even as a little girl, India Walton was bold, ambitious and supremely confident. She believed she had all the answers.

‘I used to call her Pinky, like the character on the old cartoon, ‘Pinky and the Brain,’’ Saddiq said.

At some point in every episode in that animated TV series, which was popular with kids in the ’90s, Pinky and the Brain would declare plans to try to take over the world.

That was India, all right. Ready to take on the world and unwilling to take ‘No’ for an answer. Barely 5-feet tall, she learned at a very young age to stand tall, to rise up on her own two feet, and take whatever challenges life had to offer her head-on.

So why not take on Byron Brown, a career politician looking for a record fifth term as the city’s mayor? Walton has never run a campaign, never held public office. Sure, she’s done a lot as an activist, but even Brown’s harshest critics say she’s too inexperienced, too much of a novice, to run a city this size.

‘I am a leader!’ Walton said last week at her downtown campaign headquarters. ‘I think that the whole inexperience line is kind of a trope. It’s inaccurate. I’m very experienced, and even though I’m just 38 years old, an hour is probably not enough time for me to talk about my life trajectory and my story.’

‘The experiences I have had have shaped me into a bold and fearless leader, and I’m unafraid of anything. I think those are qualities that people are craving in leadership.’

Clearly, she doesn’t lack for confidence. That will happen when you’ve spent the last five years battling the establishment, chanting through a bullhorn to decry police violence at Black Lives Matters protests or negotiating a land trust in Buffalo’s historic Fruit Belt neighborhood.

Inexperienced? It all depends on your definition. Maybe she’s never run a city with a $500 million budget and a work force of more than 2,500. But the people who know her well say she’s a born leader and a brilliant organizer, an empathetic soul with the ability to communicate with people and gain their trust.”

Read Jerry Sullivan’s profile of India Walton & the campaign at WIVB here.