Mark Poloncarz

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Mark Poloncarz
9th County Executive of
Erie County, New York
Assumed office
Preceded by Chris Collins
County Comptroller of Erie County, New York
In office
Preceded by James Hartmann
Succeeded by Lorne H. Steinhart
Personal details
Born November 1967 (age 47)
Buffalo, New York
Political party Democratic
Residence Buffalo, New York
Alma mater University at Buffalo
University of Toledo
Occupation Politician

Mark C. Poloncarz (born November 7, 1967) is the county executive of Erie County, New York. Poloncarz, a Democrat, was elected county executive on November 8, 2011 after defeating the incumbent county executive Chris Collins a Republican by a 53 - 47 percentage point margin. Poloncarz is only the 2nd Democrat to be elected to the position of county executive in the 51 year history of the position. Poloncarz was the elected comptroller of the county at the time of his election as executive.

Poloncarz was a heavy underdog when he entered the race in May of 2011. However, by focusing on issues of providing efficient, yet cost-effective government, reducing waste, fraud and abuse of the public's tax dollars, supporting the "People's Mandates," and properly funding libraries and arts and cultural institutions, Poloncarz was able to chip away a sizable Collins lead until he won in surprisingly easy fashion. Poloncarz also capitalized on his "son of a steelworker" blue collar background against Collins self-proclaimed businessman style.

Since taking office as Erie County Executive in January 2012, Poloncarz has worked to change the culture of Erie County government and return it to its core mission: provide the programs and services that residents and taxpayers demand as effectively and efficiently as possible. And as such, he made it a priority to restore funding for what he calls the “People’s Mandates,” which include the rodent control program, parks improvements, road and bridge construction, libraries, summer youth programming and renewed commitment to arts and cultural organizations. These programs were restored by Poloncarz in a fiscally responsible manner without raising taxes.

Additionally, Poloncarz believes the key to his administration’s success is to create strong partnerships with other levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, educational institutions and community groups. Examples include the creation of one of New York State’s first Land Banks, the establishment of the Erie County Medicaid Anti-Fraud Unit, as well as the successful negotiation of a new 10-year lease with the Buffalo Bills that is fair for local and state taxpayers.

Earlier this year, Poloncarz announced his “Initiatives for a Smart Economy,” which represents his administration’s deep commitment to a comprehensive, innovative approach to economic development and provides the ‘missing link,’ tying a host of diverse initiatives into one regional development effort. Specifically, this plan includes a total of 64 initiatives across a dozen areas, representing the ‘gears’ that, addressed together, will help change our economic future. These range from agriculture to quality of life and from the ‘Blue’ economy to smart growth.

Poloncarz was first elected comptroller in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009 in a three-person race by defeating Republican Phil Kadet and Independence Party candidate Michael Abramo by a 52 - 45 - 3 percentage point margin, respectively. Prior to being elected comptroller Poloncarz was an American business and finance lawyer residing in Buffalo, New York.

Poloncarz was first elected county comptroller on a platform of restoring fiscal stability and accountability to the county by acting as the taxpayers "watchdog." He is the first comptroller to be elected after a state control board was created and imposed over the county to oversee county finances. While he was the endorsed candidate of the county Democratic party, he defeated 2 challengers in the primary and then a Republican in the general election.

Poloncarz has a bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo and a law degree from the University of Toledo.

Poloncarz was the 2003 - 2004 Buffalo and western New York coordinator and spokesman for the John Kerry presidential campaign. He was an at large district delegate for John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and to Hillary Clinton at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Poloncarz was the founder and first president of the WNY Coalition for Progress, a progressive think tank in upstate New York which today is known as the Western New York Democrats for Progress.

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Political offices
Preceded by
James Hartmann
County Comptroller of Erie County, New York
2006 –2011
Succeeded by
Lorne H. Steinhart
Preceded by
Chris Collins
Erie County, New York County Executive