On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Jim Twombly, visiting assistant professor of political science at UB, will contend for one of three open seats on the Amherst Town Board.
The Democratic candidate said he hopes to "improve on the quality of life for Amherst residents" if he wins his first public election.
"Amherst has seen enormous economic development, but the expansion has taken place with no real planning," said Twombly. If elected, he intends to initiate a master plan for Amherst, one that would include designate green spaces to preserve its "precious environment."
"We have seen excessive commercial development take place in our neighborhoods and we must do a better job of regulating our growth, while still continuing to expand economically. Nobody wants to live in an office park."
Twombly feels as if he and democratic colleagues Deborah Bucki and incumbent Dan Ward are in a good position to help Amherst fight against over-development due to their consistent "strong stance" on the issue. Several months ago, the three candidates pledged to accept no campaign money from developers, "so that their money could not impede on our decisions about what's best for the town."
"By not taking any money from developers, I am in a much better position to make sound decisions for our future regarding the use of land," said Twombly.
When asked about UB's plan to develop a significant amount of new residential and commercial space, Twombly criticized the university's haste in moving forward without community consultation.
"I understand the frustration many landlords in both Amherst and Buffalo are feeling because they have the possibility of losing significant revenue from the proposed project. I feel that the university should sit down with both the town [of Amherst] and the city [of Buffalo] to discuss a plan that's good for all sides," he said.
Twombly feels campaign finance reform is an issue inseparable from those surrounding over-development.
"How can we expect the republican candidates to make sound decisions about the future of our town if all of their campaign money is coming from the developers?" Twombly asked. "There are some serious ethical issues here that must be addressed.
He believes keeping Amherst the safest place in the country to live should remain one of its officials' highest priorities.
". We want to keep it that way. Both the residents and the students who live in the town deserve that."
Twombly wants to expand Amherst's job market so it can better accommodate the needs of both local residents and students, a plan that may be difficult given the significant reduction in commercial development that he hopes to see.
He graduated summa cum laude from Slippery Rock University in 1980 with a bachelor's in political science, and went on to receive an master's and doctorate from SUNY Stonybrook. In addition to teaching, Twombly serves as a political analyst for WBFO Radio.