A Republican lawmaker in Erie County, New York, has vowed to veto public funds to construct a new stadium for the Bills if a plan to force fans to provide proof of vaccination remains in place.
Erie County legislator Frank Todaro released a statement on Wednesday, outlining his stance and his firm opposition to “the path we are headed down as a society,” as it pertains to vaccine mandates:
I want to be very clear about something. For months the community has been talking about building a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Erie County owns the current stadium and would be responsible for building a new stadium.
The Pegulas have proposed a $1.4 billion stadium that would be fully funded by taxpayers.
As a legislator who will be asked to vote on this, that proposal was dead on arrival with me. Taxpayers cannot foot the entire bill. The negotiations for a new stadium and lease with the team are going on in private. Legislators aren’t being apprised on the developments.
The process is terrible.
Today the team joins the County Executive and announces that non-vaccinated fans can no longer attend games. I don’t represent vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons, I was elected to represent people. All people. I personally am vaccinated. It was the right decision for me. It is not the right decision for everyone and I respect that. I do not like the path we are heading down as a society, and as a legislator, I cannot support it. I will not support tax dollars to build a new stadium if rules remain in place that only certain people can use it. If everyone is paying for it, everyone should be able to use it. The rule wasn’t in place on Sunday, and Highmark Stadium was packed. Obviously, people made a choice about whether or not they thought it was safe and I believe they should have that freedom. If they don’t think it is safe, they should stay home. In conclusion, if the Bills want to make these kinds of rules on their own, they can, but they should then stop asking for significant taxpayer support. I was elected to serve, not rule. That standard seems lost on County Executive Poloncarz.
According to WKBW, “Beginning September 25 at KeyBank Center and September 26 at Highmark Stadium, all guests 12 and over will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Those who are under the age of 12 will be allowed to attend, but will be required to wear a mask at all times.”
The Erie County Legislature is comprised of 11 members: Seven Democrats and four Republicans. The next election for the legislature is November 2, 2021, after the vaccine mandate goes into effect.