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Post election loss, Grant's leadership in Legislature praised

Betty Jean Grant with her supporters outside her campaign headquarters on Jefferson Street on primary night. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

By Denise Jewell Gee

Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Betty Jean Grant lost her bid for a State Senate seat, but she's won over her colleagues in county government.

Grant, a Buffalo Democrat, got a bipartisan standing ovation in the Legislature on Thursday after Legislator Kevin Hardwick, a Republican from the City of Tonawanda, praised her leadership.

"As someone who has lost a couple close elections myself, I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the campaign that you ran recently for State Senate," Hardwick said. "I know that came up short, but I also am not that sad. Surely, not as sad as you, because under your leadership here this past year, things have been going rather well."

Several legislators have noted this year that the atmosphere in the Legislative chambers has been less acrimonious under Grant's leadership than it has been in recent years.

Grant replaced former Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams, a Buffalo Democrat who had gained the Legislature leadership post after forming a coalition with Legislature Republicans.

"I just wanted to let you know that this Republican is proud to point to you as our chair," Hardwick told Grant.

Five Questions with Kevin Hardwick

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.

Kevin Hardwick speaks at Erie County Republican Committee campaign headquarters at the Adam's Mark Hotel after his election to the Legislature in November 2009. (Derek Gee/ Buffalo News)

Kevin Hardwick

The Basics:
Age: 55
Party: Republican
Job Title: 4th District Erie County Legislator
Family: Married for 32 ½ years to the former Deborah L. Maiurano; one daughter: Aubrey, 28; three sons: Jeremy, 28; Matthew, 20, and Brian, 19; two granddaughters: Kaile, 8, and Julianna, 5.
Town: City of Tonawanda
Education: Three degrees in political science from SUNY-Binghamton, B.A. (1979), M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1988).
Salary: $42,588 per year.

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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.

@jillterreri |

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 |