What Russert’s death means to Buffalo

As a brief follow-up to my post about the late Tim Russert, I feel compelled to mention what a loss it is for the community in Western New York.  Buffalo now has no one on the national stage who is as ardent and honest a supporter.  The city has, undeservedly as usual, been taking a beating in the Canadian (particularly Toronto) press after the Bills decided to play a few games there over the next five years.  To read some of what has been written about the city, one might expect, upon visiting, to see nothing but gutted, crumbling buildings wherever one looks.  In fact, Buffalo is one of the most attractive cities I’ve ever seen, with its wide tree-lined boulevards and majestic old homes that are all well-maintained.  Yes there are impoverished neighborhoods, but every city has them and compared to Rochester, Syracuse, Worcester, Albany, or even Manchester where I work, Buffalo is an eden (and gets less snow than pretty much all of those I just mentioned).  Economically, the city is rebounding a bit, building on several strong areas such as biotechnology, cancer research, and natural & historic resources.  In fact, Standard & Poor’s just gave the city a credit rating upgrade.  But without someone to champion it nationally, it seems destined to be the butt of ignorant jokes by people who have never even visited (or whose visits were limited to “just passing through”).  That is why Buffalo is taking Tim Russert’s death so hard.

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