The television public affairs network which airs congressional sessions, government hearings and other similar events commercial-free brought a bus to Buffalo Friday. C-SPAN's visit to Buffalo and Western New York was part of an ongoing tour to visit parts of the country that are deemed to have important elections or may play pivotal roles in national races.
The bus was parked in Niagara Square Friday morning, as part of a two-day visit to Western New York that began the day before in Springville.
Inside the bus is a state-of-the-art mobile classroom and production studio. Spokesman Joel Bacon says this year, the bus has been visiting states with important primary contests and regions that have flipped from red to blue, or blue to red, in recent years.
"The changing nature of our elections and the politics of it, it really is an exciting time to be C-SPAN, where we can watch as much as we possibly can and see what's going on," said Joel Bacon, spokesperson for C-SPAN, which is funded entirely by the cable television industry and does not air commercials.
Mayor Byron Brown was among those visiting the bus while it parked in downtown Buffalo. He was shown the studio inside and, after his brief tour, spoke of the importance of impressing children with a sense of responsibility to vote when they become old enough to do so.
"It's critically important to educate the next generation about the importance of voting, the transformational impact that voting has," Brown said. "People want to have a say in what happens in their lives. They want to have an impact on the decision-making processes that affect their daily lives. One of the most important ways to do that is by voting. Our young people need to know that."
Mayor Brown also took C-SPAN's visit to Buffalo as a compliment, suggesting it's important to recognize Buffalo and New York State as regions deserving attention in an election cycle.
On its first day in Western New York, the C-SPAN bus stopped at Springville Middle School and Buffalo State College. After its morning stay in Niagara Square, the bus visited Bennett High School on Main Street before leaving for its next stop in Syracuse.