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Five Questions with Joe Golombek

We've got a new weekly feature on the Politics Now blog -- every Sunday, we're publishing a small question-and-answer with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email. The interviewee supplied both biographical information and answered a series of questions.

North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., during a Jan. 24 Common Council meeting. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

Joseph Golombek Jr.

The basics

Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, North district
46 (47 on Groundhog Day)
Education: St. Joseph's Collegiate (freshman year); Riverside High School; Buffalo State College, (B.A. in History, minor in Polish, Russian and East European History); New York State Teaching Certificate for Social Studies, grades 7-12; M.S. Social Studies Education at Buffalo State; M.A. History, Renaissance through Napoleon at Marquette University.
Other employment: Lecturer at Buffalo State College
Party affiliation: Democrat
Previous work experience:
Secondary Social Studies Teacher at Riverside High School. It was cool to give back to my alma mater, Welcome Back Golombek.
City Salary: $52,000 + $1,000 for chairing Community Development

The questions
What's your favorite restaurant? 
As can be seen from my girth there are many, but I like Faso's, the Viking Inn, Gramma Mora's, Emily's and Lone Star Fajita Grill.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Gordon Lightfoot, Sting, Four Seasons (as in Frankie Valli, I love NYC doowop), Tchaikovsky, Steely Dan, BNL, bluegrass and Simon and Garfunkel. I spend a lot of time in the car and have been listening to lectures from the Great Courses.

Who's your political hero?
I don't have one. Hero is something that should be reserved to real people who faced adversity. My father is a hero to me. He was born in Poland, lived through the Nazis and Communists, came to this country at 16 years of age and worked very hard at Ford Motor Company to give me opportunities that he never had. Frank World, who was killed for his country in Afghanistan, was my next door neighbor. He was a great kid.

I am interested in French Canadian history. One of their premieres, Maurice Duplessis, is one of my favorite figures. He was a five-time premiere and history has been harsh to him. When I first read about him I did not like him, but kept noticing that many good things happened while he was premiere. I started to study him more and realized that the historians who wrote about him were judging him by their biases. He was a conservative and they could not say anything nice about him. The more I read, the more I realized it was like I was reading a political pamphlet. That aggravated me.

Historians need to put their personal prejudices aside and treat history fairly. I decided that I liked Duplessis, warts and all. Buffalo and New York state could learn a lot by studying his time in office. Quebec had some of the same problems then that we have now.

What's one thing people don't know about you?
I collect military miniatures (little army men to the unenlightened) and have over 100,000.

Family Guy character Stewie Griffin is your Facebook profile photo. What do you like about Stewie and what's your favorite Family Guy episode?
I love Family Guy because they are irreverent towards everyone and everything. Sometimes I cringe at what they make fun of but they do it fairly, to everyone. Stewie is sort of a joke among my friends. Paul Wolf [former Common Council chief of staff] once said that Stewie has my sense of humor and personality. It has stuck.

He is my profile because in one episode he went to the future and asked if he had at least become a city councilmember. The guys at the bar I frequent thought that sealed the comparison. My favorite episode is probably ["Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington" because it includes the clip] "That Guy," because I love "That Girl," [the sitcom that starred Marlo Thomas].

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN


City of Buffalo | Common Council | Five Questions | Joseph Golombek
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

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Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |