SARATOGA, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo, D-New York, has made no secret throughout his time in office that Buffalo is a priority. The state has invested unprecedented resources into the area and Mayor Byron Brown believes it's working.
"He's spent a lot of time in our city, paid a lot of attention to our city," said Brown, D-Buffalo. "We're now seeing record amounts of economic development and job creation.
But even as he supported Buffalo, some political observers believed the governor snubbed its mayor twice by not selecting him as lieutenant governor. Recently, Cuomo pegged Brown for a different leadership position.
"I've had a great relationship with the governor for a very long time, have worked with him on a whole host of issues and I'm very pleased in the governor's confidence in me, recommending me to serve as state chair," Brown said.
Brown was appointed Monday by the state Democratic Party but not before giving some serious thought to whether he could handle the extra workload. Ultimately, he said he believes he's the best person to lead the party through this fall's presidential election.
"This election is so critically important to the future of this country and for generations to come that it can't be taken lightly so if I have to work instead of 18 hours a day, make it 22 hours a day to do both, that's what I'm prepared to do," Brown said.
"I think it's just another example of Governor Cuomo supporting Western New York, helping us have a bigger part of the political community in New York state," Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner said.
"I'm excited about his leadership," said Mayor Lovely Warren, D-Rochester. "I believe that he's a great person, a man that's going to take our party where we need to go here in our state."
Brown's appointment means he will have to step down from the State University of New York Board of Trustees.
"I enjoyed having the opportunity to focus on the higher education needs for over a year now," he said.
Meanwhile, another Western New Yorker, Jim Eagan is resigning from his position as the party's secretary. He said, with Brown's leadership, the area will be sufficiently represented.
"My plans are to work with the Senate Democratic leadership and party chairs across the state of New York," Brown said.
Brown becomes the first chair from Western New York in more than four decades.