When Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino announced he was running for the Buffalo Public School Board, more than a few political observers found the idea laughable. A year after easily winning a seat on the board, few are still laughing.

“One of the criticisms of Carl Paladino when he was running for governor was that he didn’t have a good understanding of the ins and outs of government and parliamentary procedure. I think a lot of people have watched what he’s done on the school board and have been impressed,” said Democratic Strategist Jack O’Donnell.

Paladino was adamant he never intended to use the Buffalo Public School Board as a way to remain visible in the public eye, but admits it may have been an unintended consequence.

“The press is always looking for a motive. I don’t need to stay relevant. I’m not here to learn about educational techniques. I’m not looking to hold a higher office. I don’t need that. I’m 67-years-old I just want to help this community,” Paladino said.

Others who’ve tried to their hand at Western New York politics are hoping to follow in Paladino’s footsteps. Former Buffalo Mayoral Candidates Bernie Tolbert and Sergio Rodriguez are seeking a seat on the school board in May.

Paladino believes they plan to use the board as a stepping stone to something else.

“It’s probably true. I don’t think either one of them will be relevant in the future,” said Paladino.

Whether or not Paladino is still relevant depends on who you ask, of course. But there are few people who have been written off as many times and still continue to make headlines.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt his voice is still relevant,” O’Donnell said.

Besides all things Buffalo School Board-related, Paladino is using whatever influence he has to rally support behind a potential Donald Trump gubernatorial bid.

“He’s the number one brand in America and I think he could defeat Andrew Cuomo,” Paladino said.

Even before the effort to “Draft Trump” was launched, Paladino threatened to challenge any GOP candidate on the Conservative line if they didn’t call for the removal of the State Senate’s top Republican, Dean Skelos, and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

“Republicans and Conservatives statewide are still talking to or talking about Carl Paladino. There are a lot people who underestimate or don’t listen to him at their own peril,” said O’Donnell.

Paladino’s continued popularity in certain circles has allowed him to put pressure on State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to get out of Trump’s way.

“Astorino is a good man and he’d a make a good governor, but getting there is the problem. Winning is the problem. Having the name recognition, and having the money it’s just not there,” Paladino said.

For Paladino it’s more about dragging the Republican Party and ultimately the state to the political right than it is about being governor. Four years after his upset win in the GOP Primary, Paladino believes he still has unfinished business.

“We haven’t seen the change I envisioned. All we’ve seen is the same old nonsense from Cuomo.  If you ask in this state if their lives are better than they were four years ago I think they’ll tell you no,” Paladino said.

While Governor Cuomo’s polling numbers remain strong, Paladino says Cuomo is vulnerable on issues like the NY SAFE Act, and hydrofracking.

“He’s deprived the entire Upstate population, the Southern Tier population, of an economic opportunity for no good reason Thirty-seven states drill, 36 frack.  There’s no reason that we shouldn’t frack.  Inciting the people into worrying about their water table getting infected, it’s all nonsense,” Paladino added.

Paladino has never been afraid to speak his mind or “ruffle people’s feathers.”  It’s a quality that his supporters love, and his detractors hate.

“It works both ways.  There are those who argue Carl has turned the school board into a circus.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” O’Donnell said.

And, if you’re one of those who is tired of seeing Paladino on TV, or seeing his name in print, he says don’t blame him.

“I never wanted to be relevant.  I never call the press.  The press calls me,” Paladino added.