Jamison Volunteer Fire Hall not backing down from Steve Bannon appearance

Heavy public criticism because of "Get out the Vote" rally

Mike Baggerman
October 22, 2018 - 9:24 am

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, talks about the approaching midterm election during an interview with The Associated Press, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Washington. Bannon told the Associated Press that if the elections were held today, he believed the GOP would lose 35 to 40 seats and the House of Representatives, but argued there was time to turn that around. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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ELMA, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Jamison Volunteer Fire Hall is not caving to public criticism following the announcement that former White House advisor and former executive chairman at Breitbart News Steve Bannon will hold a "Get out the Vote" rally on Wednesday. 

Michael Caputo, who helped organize the rally, said that the previous event at the Roycroft Inn was canceled after threats of property violence and boycott. Channel 7 reported that the inn worried about brand damage as a result of hosting the Bannon rally. Our phone call to Roycroft has yet to be returned.

The fire hall said that criticisms began shortly after the Bannon announcement. 

"Really no threats of violence," Brian Nolan, Vice President and Board of Director member, said. "Most of the threats were boycotts of hall rentals moving forward and donations moving forward."

Nolan said that when they investigated who these people were that contacted them, they found that few were actually residents of the fire hall district. He said most were from the City of Buffalo while one-in-ten were actually form the area.

"We're not going to let people push us around," he added. "We're trying to raise money."

Nolan said that the cost of renting out the fire hall is $250 and that they don't discriminate between political parties or in any other way. Organizers of the Bannon rally paid the $250 event fee, which will be used to supplement the taxpayers dollars. It will pay for equipment such as fire trucks and equipment for the firefighters. 

"At this time there is zero plan to cancel our event," Nolan added. "We feel strongly. Our board of directors voted strongly to move forward with this event. It's a hall rental. It's money we're making and we don't feel this is something we should cancel at this time."

Caputo said that the Erie County Sheriff's Office and a private security company will be on hand so that people will stay safe. 

"We expect some protesters there," Caputo said. "We expect them to protest civilly and for all this to go off without a hitch."

Caputo added that there will be an additional fundraiser for the fire hall after the rally.

Wednesday's rally begins at 5 p.m. 

IN DEPTH

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