Sundquist’s Four Years Were More Than Enough
I will always regard my 37 years in Jamestown as the best part of my life. As I always said I went to Jamestown to take a job but I stayed because I found a home until … the first two campaigns for Eddie Sundquist for Congress and then mayor.
We didn’t succeed on the first but regrettably triumphed on the latter. I did everything I could for Sundquist as another gay man, and a Democrat, knocking on countless doors and recommending him to voters who knew and trusted me.
One month before his election I became aware that he was running against my record and the record of my friend Mayor Sam Teresi. I was outraged that a young Democrat would do this while supporting other council at-large candidates other than me. It became clear to me that he had no interest other than self-promotion.
I spent a long time as the only openly gay elected official in Western New York for 10 years crusading for marriage equality. At times it was a rough ride but it had to be done.
Before Sundquist even took the oath he started to do his best to undo our record of accomplishment and then did everything he could to keep me out of local government making it difficult for me to remain and live in my adopted home.
I persevered until it was in my own best interest across the board to retire and leave and I did leaving behind memories and friends. On Election Day, I found peace when the good people got wise to his reign of error and incompetence not to mention his self-aggrandizement and duplicity.
The mess he made in the four years will be for others to clean up for years to come. I am now truly at peace.
He can’t hurt Jamestown for now. But let me be frank. As an older gay Democrat I feel betrayed by a person who is part of a group that I did my best to improve in our lives. I would not change the work I did because I did it so people like Sundquist could have opportunities that I couldn’t and didn’t have when I was young. But the worst is over and I still love Jamestown and my friends.
The only additional tragic side to this story is Buffalo Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski, my former student and another gay Democrat, who supported Sundquist in this last campaign even though I asked him not to because of what Sundquist did to me. Mitch never even bothered to return my call.
How soon we forget how difficult it was for our queer friends to get to the point we are at but the struggle continues and I will never stop fighting the good fight but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would have to wage this fight with my fellow gay Democrats.
I am hurt but OK because of the election. I am happy to be in Buffalo and wish Jamestown only the best for giving me a home for 37 years.
Gregory P. Rabb is former Jamestown Planning Commission chairman and council member. He currently resides in Buffalo.