From afar India Walton seems like a pretty remarkable candidate. From what I read she made a firm commitment to bring a new form of governance to the city of Buffalo, making people and their needs – not real estate interests, not police – the foremost priority.

I don’t know how much her avowed socialist pedigree figured in her campaign and election. Probably on the margins and there is nothing wrong with that. But what I find interesting is that she had no hesitation not only to embrace socialism on election night when asked if she was a socialist by a local reporter but also the dexterity to give a quick and succinct – not long winded – rendering of socialism in her reply: “All it means is that I’m putting people first. People over profits. I’m representing the working class, the poor, the forgotten.”

I doubt if I would have answered the question this way years ago, but her reply captures, for me at this point in my political life, the essence of what socialist governance should be about, albeit with this addendum – robust mass participation and decision making – deep democratization – in the affairs that matter in people’s lives should be a distinguishing feature of socialism as well. I’m sure the new mayor would agree.