I would like to share a few thoughts about my friend Camille Brandon. Most of you know by now that Camille passed away suddenly last week.
Camille was a valued member of our team. She brought an unbridled enthusiasm to everything she did, especially to representing our clients and to supporting political causes and candidates for office. Her greatest talent was with people, identifying the right candidates at the right time and then doing or helping them do what it took to win.
Here are what a few of those candidates had to say about her:
That talent was not reserved for candidates. She was a mentor to staffers and citizens and activists. That was clear to every member of OD&A and especially to me. When I was breaking into politics, she would introduce me to people I needed to know, share backstories (and gossip), offer advice and—as was too often necessary with me—kind corrections and suggestions for improvement. She was infallible when it came to providing “victims” for various press conferences, including seniors, college students, motorists paying too much for gas, and, well, you get the idea. She once picked up 30 pounds of White Star kielbasa at the airport and spent the night cooking it for a cook-off at the Cheektowaga Polish Festival.
Camille was a trailblazer for women in politics and accomplished amazing things inside and outside of government. She has been a fixture in Western New York politics for decades. She served as Deputy County Clerk under both former Congressman Chris Jacobs and now Governor Kathy Hochul. Camille was a key member of Erie County Executive Dennis T. Gorski’s campaigns and his administration. Her role and voice in Democratic politics included serving multiple times as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention, as a longtime fixture on the New York State Democratic Committee, and in various leadership roles in her local party.
Camille’s influence will continue to be felt everywhere from Cheektowaga to the Capitols in Albany and Washington, especially with those of us who got to know her and were able to count her as our friend.
Camille with Buffalo Zoo President/CEO Lisa Smith
Camille thought all of our clients were amazing, carrying their concerns on her back and fighting tenaciously for them every single day. So many of you have sent kind remembrances and thoughtful messages. (You can read some of these heartfelt words on our social media platforms, including X and LinkedIn.) Thank you. I will be in touch to discuss how we cover her many responsibilities.
She was part of the OD&A team from the beginning, and we will continue to carry her with us in our hearts. In their eulogy, her children challenged us to take up one of her traits. She was the first to every event, fundraiser, and state committee meeting and always the last one to leave and we rededicate ourselves to carrying on that indominable work ethic and, like Camille, always with a smile.