by Kim BALCERZAK
When it comes to Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, what you see is what you get.
As Living Prime Time discovered in a recent interview, what you get is a man eager to enter his 50's with the same drive and determination that have brought him success in the past.
"Well," Masiello said, "turning 50 doesn't bother me one bit. It didn't bother me when I turned 30 or when I turned 40. And there certainly isn't going to be any dramatic change in my life at 50."
"I have a great life and I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing, regardless of my age. I don't worry about things I have no control over."
"You don't have control over your age. You have control over your physical and mental well-being. And that's what I work on."
Masiello comes from a working class Buffalo West Side family. A basketball star at Canisius College in the late 1960's, he worked his way up the political ladder from the Buffalo Common Council and New York State Senate to the mayor's office.
|On the campaign trail.|
The mayor, who will turn 50 on April 28, 1997, considers himself fortunate to be in a position to help his hometown regain the prominence it once had.
He intends to spend the decade of his 50's trying to implement his vision for Buffalo: a better place for people to live and raise their families.
According to Masiello, family is the key to achieving this dream.
The oldest of seven children, he has four brothers and two sisters. He and his wife, Kate, have a young daughter, Kim, from a previous marriage.
Family is, and will continue to be, a major factor in his life.
"My family has been along side me as an athlete and as a public servant," he explained. "there's no greater support mechanism for me."
"My parents have been the most instrumental people in my life. My father has such a tremendous work ethic, character and discipline. My mother, with her tender loving care, always has time to listen and to guide."
"These are certainly characteristics and values that I've tried to emulate from them. They are my truest and greatest friends and allies."
What has he learned?
To channel his energies wisely into fewer yet more critical areas than he did in his 20's and 30's.
To learn from the past and become more moderate in his philosophical views.
To develop a strong work ethic and know when and what to be concerned about.
"Nobody gives you anything for nothing," he said. "Society is becoming more competitive, so you've got to work harder. Obstacles are greater now, and we have more societal problems than ever before."
"I think what prepared me in the previous 50 years is m work ethic. It's going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of energy to deal with the problems we have before us today."
As he approaches and goes beyond 50PLUS, the mayor's priorities are to:
Have a healthy and happy family.
Succeed in whatever he is doing.
Make the embattled City of Buffalo better than it was when he took over in January, 1994.
Stay healthy which, he added, is important at any age.
|Taking a break.|
What does he need to work on? Exercise, admitted the mayor who, like many of us, has put that aside from his 30's and 40's. Being happy, successful and healthy are important to him because he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
"I've got to work a long time because I have a young family to take care of," he said. "Obviously, I'm not the one who looks to retire in any way. I'm probably somebody who's going to work till the end. I get a lot of satisfaction from my job and working."
What does he see as major concerns for those 50 and over? The escalating costs of health care, living and housing which far exceed the pace of wages and retirement funds.
"One of the real tragedies in America today is that people lose their jobs in their 40's and their 50's and have to start all over doing something else," he explained.
"Often times, that's when their needs economically are the highest. They may be trying to finish educating their young people, or paying for their home or a lifestyle they have worked 20 or 25 years to build up."
"All of a sudden they have to change careers and be content with salaries that are much lower than they were making."
How does Masiello feel about the "Sandwich Generation?" (The term coined by pundits to describe adults facing the demands of raising children, remaining gainfully employed and caring for their parents at the same time.)
According to the mayor, this situation is not unique to today's society. What is, however, is how we deal with it.
"My parents worked very hard to make sure we were well taken care of and also kept an eye on their parents," he explained.
|Masiello and parents.|
"It's not new to me, it's something that I've grown accustomed to. You find the time and a way to take care of your responsibilities."
"Often times, people have neglected their own parents and children. That's one of the most serious societal problems we have to deal with now."
"This is something that's unique to America. In Europe, that doesn't happen. In other continents, that doesn't happen. The young and old are taken care of by family."
What is the bottom line when it comes to tuning 50 for Masiello?
"I think as you mature, you get wiser and learn from your mistakes," he said. "You channel your time and energies in things that are more productive and more positive instead of wasting that time and energy."
"What you see is what you get. I'm going to continue to work hard and dedicate myself to my family, my job, my friends and certainly this great city. How do I feel about turning 50? I think it's terrific."
Photos courtesy of Mayor Masiello's office.
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