Jon Rivera, an administrator in Erie County’s Department of Public Works, is now vying to become Buffalo’s Assembly member.
Rivera, a special assistant to the Erie County commissioner of Public Works, announced his candidacy for the 149th State Assembly District on Friday. A Democrat, he’ll look to replace fellow Democrat Sean Ryan, who is vacating the seat to run for state Senate.
Rivera is touting his experience with infrastructure projects as a member of the county government, as well as his work assisting small businesses as a former HSBC and KeyBank branch manager.
As a Buffalo native, he also noted his ties to the district.
“My last few years in both government and banking and just my work in the community made it all make sense,” Rivera told WBFO. “Knowing the neighborhood, knowing the district, having family in both Hamburg and Buffalo, raising my daughter here, growing up here my whole life, I felt it was necessary that someone who knew the neighborhoods, knew the district, knew the needs of the folks that lived there, be the person to represent them.”
The 149th Assembly District spans from Delaware Park to Hamburg, and includes all of Buffalo’s waterfront. Shepherding the future of the waterfront will be a large part of leading the district, Rivera said.
“The future of the waterfront is about continuing the method that we’ve laid out of not really banking on the big things, but to keep things simple and just doubling down on access,” he said. “People just couldn't get to the water’s edge and now they do and it’s really changed downtown.”
Rivera, 33, said he grew up wanting to be a public servant. His father is Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera, a retired Buffalo police officer. His mother is a retired Buffalo Public Schools teacher aide.
“(My father) being a police office, my mother being a teacher, we held in high regard public service,” he said. “It’s not something I shy away from.”
Candidates can begin circulating petitions in February. A Democratic primary for the Assembly seat would be held in June.