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Five Questions with Betty Jean Grant

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A 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.


Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant dances as results trickle in on election night in November. (Derek Gee/ Buffalo News)

Betty Jean Grant

The Basics:
Age: 63
Party: Democratic Party
Job Title:  2nd District Legislator and Chairwoman, Erie County Legislature
Family: Married to George E. Grant since 1970. Three daughters and four grandchildren.
Town: Buffalo
Education: Bachelor of Science in elementary education; Master's degree in special education
Salary: $52,000.00

The Questions: 
What's one thing people don't know about you?
 I was an introvert and was extremely shy and stuttered to the point of almost being vocally catatonic while growing up in the deep South.

You published a book of poetry, "Falling Through the Crack," in 2008. How did you get started writing?
I started writing poetry around the fourth grade -- honest to goodness true story. I got bored reading about Jack and Jill going up the hill to get that pail of water. I changed the story line and came up with a more provocative ending for old Jack there.

I started writing poetry for my book as far back as 1968 and continued writing for personal pleasure until a few individuals read some of them and convinced me to get them published.

What's your favorite restaurant? 
My favorite restaurants are Mattie's and GiGi's, the two premier Soul Food restaurants in Buffalo.

Who is your political hero? 
My political hero is Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter and former president of South Africa who was held in prison for over 28 years because of his political beliefs and for his fight to end Apartheid in South Africa.

What's the worst part of your job? 
Truly the worst part of my job, up to now, was having to let individuals go in this year's reorganization process of the Erie County Legislature. I realize that every administration, in both the public and private sectors, has always had to downsize or change the employee structure in one way or another. While it was necessary for me as chairperson of the Legislature to let a few employees go for various reasons, I did not enjoy the realization that what was done, even though it was not done in a mean-spirited manner, nevertheless negatively impacted workers and their immediate families.

-- Denise Jewell Gee


Betty Jean Grant | Erie County | Erie County Legislature | Five Questions
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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.

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