Sheppard lays out mayoral platform; Barnhart, Warren respond
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Rochester Mayoral Candidate James Sheppard announced the details of his platform Monday morning.
Speaking on the steps of City Hall, Sheppard shared his plans to restore transparency and how to get Rochester working again.
Sheppard says he used feedback he collected from the community to help guide his platform.
"Economic development, public safety, neighborhoods and housing, poverty and education," Sheppard said. "Those are my five priorities and number one is public safety."
"In public safety, we will be transparent, we will be accountable. We will support an independent, investigative process. But we must ensure, it's thorough, complete and fair," Sheppard added.
Sheppard also says he wants to engage youth by creating a youth police academy, exposing them to the workforce and opportunities and engaging with officers.
"The best way for our residents to get out of poverty is through good-paying jobs," Sheppard said. "We will get Rochester working again by supporting our current businesses, recruiting new businesses, and being prepared and trained for new jobs."
Sheppard added that, under his leadership, he will appoint an economic development commissioner.
"Sadly, though I'm sure that the mayor is well-intentioned, her execution has been poor and any positive results achieved have been far too limited," Sheppard said. "Not only is it difficult for our citizens to navigate the bureaucracy at City Hall - City Departments do not have the necessary guidance, support, or resources. When your own team is unclear about your priorities and how they're meant to be achieved, how can they be expected to effectively serve Rochester citizens?"
Fellow Democratic mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart argued it's time to take the city in a different direction.
"I'm suggesting we focus on policies not programs," Barnhart said. "Policies like adding 1,000 child care spots, policies like reforming property taxes to make it fair for everyone and not just wealthy developers. Policies like adding a citywide fiber Internet network. Things that help a maximum number of people reduce poverty and create jobs."
In response to Sheppard's criticisms, the Friends of Lovely Warren released a statement on behalf of the mayor:
"Since I began this journey, I have worked tirelessly to deliver more jobs, safer neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our city and we are getting results across the board," said Mayor Lovely Warren. "The unprecedented level of investment, growth and development happening in every area and corner of our city is at a level today that hasn't been seen in decades and we will continue to work for even more progress for our neighbors who still need jobs. It's obvious that my political opponent is out of touch with how city hall operates today. For instance, we share our crime stats on a daily basis, in real time on our open data portal -- not quarterly, not yearly but daily -- so clearly the statements that have been made today, about this and other city programs, were not well researched or thought out. I understand that my political opposition has to be critical of me, because, unlike them, I have a record of creating jobs, new development, safer streets and better educational outcomes. I am proud of what we have accomplished together as a city and I will work tirelessly, with our residents help, to continue the great momentum we have already accomplished today as we go forward to an even brighter future."
The primary for the Rochester mayoral race is scheduled for September 12.