During my time at Channel Two News – I was lucky enough to meet some of the sweetest, smartest, and most talented journalists around. Lynne Dixon is surely on that list. Very few people are passionate about their community – the way Lynne is. She’s a proud Western New Yorker and that comes across in just about everything she does. She is a great friend and I am very happy that she agreed to do a Spotlight Interview. We talked media and politics – and of course, she told us what makes her Totally Buffalo!
Q: You were once the interviewer holding people like yourself accountable – now you’re being asked the tough questions – which is easier!?
A: I believe it is easier to “ask” the tough questions because often you have the benefit of hindsight. Having said that I think it is extremely important to have responsible journalists who dive further into issues.
Q: Why did you want to get involved in politics?
A: I had to believe that I could make a difference in order to leave the profession I was in for more than 20 years. This community has been very good to me and I wanted to give back in other ways. I thought it important to be a good community partner and have a seat at the table to fully participate in this region’s resurgence.
Q: What are similarities and differences you find in working in politics and the media.
A: I think for the most part those working in journalism and in government want to see our city and region succeed. In both journalism and politics you can be a voice for the voiceless and advocate for what is right. In politics there is a greater need to build consensus to accomplish your goals. As a journalist we operated on same day deadlines whereas in government I have discovered there are sometimes considerable hurdles that make reaching your goals more challenging.
Q: What do you want to see change in your district?
A: We must continue to strive to improve the quality of life for our residents; that includes everything from repairing our aging infrastructure to continuing to develop the Bethlehem Steel site and building on more waterfront access for bikers and all residents. I wish there was a one-size-fits-all solution to the opioid epidemic, but unfortunately that is a challenge that is going to continue to face us for years. We will continue to look for new ways to fight this dreaded crisis. I would also like to continue to work to relieve the tax burden on our residents.
Q: Do you miss being a reporter? What do you miss most/least? What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on live television?
A: As I tell people all the time; I miss the work and the people, but not the industry. So many outlets are cutting back on manpower, but increasing the demands of those still working there. I believe in the “run and gun” atmosphere you don’t often have enough time to give the story the creative touch it calls for, or you don’t have enough time to get a balance of opinions/dive deeper into a particular issue. As a result, we all lose. Having said that, journalism is still my first love (well, one of my first…). Additionally, the people I know and count as friends still working in the industry are extremely talented and hard-working who put their best effort in each and every day.
As for the craziest thing that ever happened: there are too many to count (many of them happening during live shots after Bills or Sabres games), but I do recall a very large snake wrapping itself in my hair during a live shot at the SPCA.
Q: You are such a great mom to your 4 kids – How do you balance your career and your beautiful family?
A: Awe-thank you. They are my greatest blessing, my greatest gift and my crowning achievement! Raising children in today’s world is not easy. I just try and do my best every day. When they were younger I would plan out their wardrobes and meals at the beginning of each week. I often involved them in my work at Channel 2 and my work in the Erie County Legislature. As a result I believe they have become quite educated on the workings of politics and government, they have had firsthand knowledge and experience on what it takes to run for office and are often quite engaged on the issues. Still, for them school, sports, friends and other extra-curricular activities are very important. It is why I have 240,000 miles on my Suburban! What I want for my kids most in this world is for them to be happy. I hope I have raised strong, kind, empathetic, independent-minded children who can go out and change the world in their own special way.
Q: You are one of the best writers I know – do you still write or plan to at some point?
A: That is so nice of you to say Mary. You are quite talented yourself! Of course I miss the creative aspect that comes with journalism. I absolutely love to write and hope to do more of it in the future. I have a few ideas for a book or blog. Stay tuned!
Q: They say you need a thick skin to be in politics – do you find that?
A: I developed thick skin during my 22 years in journalism where attacks can often be very mean-spirited and personal. Early on it weighed pretty heavily on me, but I became stronger as a result and can sleep well at night now (well, except for the part about having teenagers..). I’m a pleaser by nature, so making enemies either through the press or through politics was never my thing, but I understand sometimes it comes with the territory. I just continue to do what I do and not get caught up in the nastiness that exists in politics today. I will leave that to others.
Q: I know you’re such a proud Western New Yorker – What are your thoughts on Buffalo’s resurgence and how can we keep it going?
A: It is exciting to see the waterfront and downtown come alive again. It is important that we continue to push forward and look for new ideas and opportunities. We have so many incredible young people that we need to provide career possibilities to so they can stay. Using Amazon as an example, we have to aggressively go after every possibility out there. I know I would love to be able to see my children settle in Western New York.
Q: What makes you Totally Buffalo?
A: I am absolutely Totally Buffalo! I have lived in the Northtowns, the city and the Southtowns! I am proud of my family’s South Buffalo roots: including a grandfather who worked in the grain elevators, a grandmother who raised ten children, a dad who bought his parents their first-ever home as a teenager returning from the war, and a Canadian mother who fell in love at a party at Crystal Beach (my dad), then fell in love with a city she’s called home for more than half a century . I have covered the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, got to call an inning with the Bisons, have enjoyed the arts and cultural organizations. I embrace the snow and skiing in winter, the lake and boating in summer, I love St Patrick’s Day, the Basilica and Cathedrals, the Turkey Trot and all traditions that make Buffalo unique. I love this regions hard work ethic. I love their generosity of spirit. As a reporter first, then public servant I have had the opportunity to meet so many Western New Yorkers who help make this an incredible place to live!