At 28 years old, Chris Jacobs moved back to his hometown of Buffalo to start a charity to help low and moderate income families who wanted to send their kids to private grammar schools. In its first year, the BISON Scholarship Fund raised enough private donations to provide scholarships for 200 children, now in its 21st year, BISON has grown to helping over 1,700 children annually. Over these 21 years BISON has raised over $20 million dollars and awarded 20,000 scholarship to needy families. Chris believes in the power of ideas!
For years, when people spoke about Main Street in downtown Buffalo they saw blight and no future. Chris saw potential and he got to work. In 2002, Chris founded Avalon Development, and began purchasing vacant buildings and transforming them into new and vibrant spaces for start-up businesses to thrive.
Chris has taken his passion for Buffalo and solutions-based attitude into government as Erie County Clerk. Elected in 2010, when Chris first took office he uncovered a major crisis in the Real Estate Division ,finding $3 million dollars in uncashed checks and 100,000 deeds and mortgages not returned to homeowners. Chris didn’t point fingers – he got to work, partnering with his employees and transforming the office into modern and customer-centered operations.
As Clerk, Chris has fought to keep millions in Auto Bureau fee revenue in Erie County instead of sending more to Albany, by encouraging motorists to renew their vehicle registration locally. He’s utilized technologies in the Auto Bureaus, creating self-serve kiosks and an on-line reservation system, and he’s made the Erie County Thank A Vet Program the largest veterans discount card program in New York State.
Chris wants to take his skills gained in the public, private and non-profit sector and his passion for positive change to be your New York State Senator. He wants to fight to reform Albany’s culture of corruption, put control back in the hands of local school districts and governments, and end our state’s reputation as having the highest-taxed citizens in the United States.
Western New York has had some tough times over the last several decades, we are finally starting to climb out of this economic hole. Chris believes we have much more to do to create a true and long-term, job-creating economic comeback in Western New York. It is critical that our leaders make decisions that our right for our community so we continue this positive momentum. Decisions that are right for our community, not Albany, and certainly not New York City!
The New York City mindset has been very damaging to Western New York and it needs to stop. We need to empower local communities again with more decision-making power and resources, because they know best the needs of their community.
Chris believes that with a state government as a partner and no longer a problem, a state government that empowers local communities instead of a burden to them, Western New York can continue this positive momentum and achieve the long term comeback it deserves!