Sean Bunny has always put a high priority on public service. He has represented others through the military and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, and now he’s hoping to do so as the next congressman for New York’s 27th District.
The Western New York native announced in mid-October that he will be challenging Chris Collins for his seat in the House of Representatives. He will do so on the Democratic ticket.
Bunny grew up in East Amherst, and after graduating from Syracuse University, he entered the Army and spent just under five years in the service from early 2006 through late 2010. He deployed to Iraq in 2009 as a company executive officer, and eventually finished his deployment as a battalion chief of operations after being promoted to captain.
Following the Army, Bunny graduated from the University at Buffalo Law School. He was hired as an assistant district attorney in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office straight out of college, working as a prosecutor for the community.
Bunny is now running for Congress because of his belief in public service and distaste for how mean-spirited Washington has become.
“I believe very highly in public service,” Bunny said. “That’s what my entire life has been. I don’t like how mean and just nasty Washington has become right now.
“There’s name-calling, there’s a complete lack of trust and that’s not the country I put a uniform on for.”
Bunny has three main focuses for what he’d like to accomplish in Washington: boosting jobs and the economy, healthcare and taxes.
“If there’s one really good thing the Trump campaign talked about last year, it’s about how globalization has had a major impact, especially on places like right here in the Great Lakes,” Bunny said of the first focus. “We lost a lot of economic power in the last 50 years, so I want to work to bring that back.”
Bunny said he would like to do so by putting forth an infrastructure bill.
“I’d really like to get something that improves rail, improves bridges; it’s just time and it’s good for two aspects. It’s good for the short-term because it’s shovel-ready jobs, that’s construction jobs immediately. But also, the end result is good for business.”
As for healthcare, Bunny said he would like to do something that helps drive down the cost of premiums and deductibles. Just one possible solution, he said, is something like the recently-proposed Medicare buy-in that allows Americans ages 50 to 64 to purchase the coverage through the health care exchange. That way, Americans wouldn’t have to wait until age 65 to receive the benefits.
Bunny also talked about the recent tax bill put forth by Collins and the GOP, Republicans say it will cut taxes for everyone, but there are reports stating otherwise.
“There are so many bad aspects of [the legislation]. We are giving tax breaks to very wealthy people and corporations, and there’s certain tax brackets of the middle class who are going to get a tax increase,” he said.
He talked about a provision in the tax bill that would count campus tuition waivers as personal income and tax them. If that happens, Bunny said he believes it could have national security implications. He also said it will hurt the nation’s ability to keep up with other nations in terms of research and development.
Bunny, however, did approve of the tax bill’s provision to double the standard deduction.
With his past service in the Army and at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, he believes both will go hand-in-hand in helping him serve the constituents of NY-27. The district includes all of Wyoming County, as well the entirety of Orleans, Genesee and Livingston counties, and parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara and Ontario counties.
“Being a prosecutor, you get a chance to look at statutes, you get a chance to review what the collateral aspects of statutory language are, which is the entire job of a congressman,” Bunny said. “You get to see how one sentence can change things pretty significantly, and not necessarily for the good, and I think it’s important to have a background like that.”
Other experience that will come in handy, Bunny says, is being a husband and a father of two young children. He said doing so changes a person’s perspective on issues.
“It’s made me a better person and made me see the world in a much different place.”
With politics being such a hot-button issue in the current state of America, Bunny believes the biggest issue facing the country is an anger he doesn’t recognize. He said he loves the enthusiasm people have and how engaged they have become in politics, but that people need to be more respectful of each other and differing opinions.
“We’ve hit a point where we’ve been disagreeing and questioning each other’s patriotism and good intentions, and I just don’t think that’s healthy for a society and certainly not a democracy.”
Bunny said he would like to see representatives in Washington actually give back to constituents and be a team.
“I just can’t see how Washington has done any of that lately. And I really don’t think Chris Collins has done anything to show he cares about causes greater than himself,” Bunny said. “He has never served in uniform ... I just don’t think there’s a view of a greater America out there, and I think all of the anger of the last few years, all of the violence, I just think we’re a better country than that.”
Another issue that has been heavily covered in the media lately is gun ownership and Second Amendment rights. Bunny said when he took an oath to defend the nation’s Constitution, he did so for all amendments. He said he in no way wants to criminalize hunters or gun owners who keep a firearm in the house for protection. However, he said there is room for reasonable gun regulation.
Laws should be enforced as they are written in the books, he said, citing examples of police officers he has talked to saying they worry about convicted criminals on the streets possessing firearms.
When voters head to the polls next November, Bunny believes he is the best fit to represent the district because he says he represents its values.
“I know that we’re good people. I know that we have courage, compassion and all of the Western New York values.”
He reiterated his background of serving people of all backgrounds while in the Army and with the DA’s office.
“I think that no one else out there right now can see things from that perspective, so I think I’m the best in that regard.”
Bunny resides in East Aurora with his wife, Mary, and two young sons, John and Will. For more on his background and campaign, see bunnyforcongress.com.