There are a total of six people running to be the mayor of Rochester. You’re most likely familiar with three of them: James Sheppard, Rachel Barnhart and incumbent Lovely Warren who are all vying for the Democratic ticket. The other three are heading straight to the November general election ballot.
As a Republican and members of the Green Party and Independent Party, these three don’t get a ton of discussion. It could be because Rochester is largely a blue city, the big personalities involved on that ticket or simply because we’re still in primary season. However, OM wanted to shed a quick spotlight on these candidates and while these bios are nowhere near extensive or exhaustive it’s a primer to get you familiar with all of the mayoral candidates before stepping into the voting booth this fall.
Tony Micciche, Republican. Micciche currently represents the 26th District in the Monroe County Legislature which includes Gates, Greece and the northwest part of Rochester. Using his background, Micciche said he believes he can help Rochester’s poverty issues by bolstering a stronger economy- one with fewer regulations and red tape. Miccciche said he spent time in foster care before getting a job at 14 years old and then paying for both a place to live and his way through school. “I’ve slept in my car,” he stated on his website. “I spent twenty-five years working at GM and I’m the only candidate with manufacturing experience. I’ve known what it’s like to work hard and build my own future.” He said he’d reduce some of the red tape around the creation of businesses and is hoping to make Rochester more attractive to business owners. When its comes to governing, he is against the Sanctuary City policy, stating, “I find it amazing that every other candidate is more willing to protect law breakers over our citizens,” and said in office he’d take a 10 percent salary cut as mayor and would want to limit terms in office, including his own to two and three for City Council members. He also said he’d pushfor longer school days that end at 4 p.m. and summer and Saturday “academies” that would continue the learning past June to better the Rochester City School District. He also argued against “social promotion” saying students need to be at that level before being promoted to the next grade. “I grew up in this city,” his website states, adding that he understands the issues that plague Rochester.
Alex White, Green. Sporting a braid that’s often tucked under the collar of his suit, White has been active in the community for years. In fact, this marks his third attempt running for mayor. As a Green Party candidate, one of his major platforms include the environment and he’s pretty thorough from campaigning to turn electricity and energy needs into a public utility to mandating a replacement tree for every tree taken out and encouraging tree-lined streets throughout the city and replacing the city’s fleet of cars with more energy efficient models. However, he doesn’t stop there; He’s also been a longtime advocate for police reform and wants to give an independent review board subpoena power to hold law enforcement more accountable. He’s also been a longtime advocate of body cameras for police officers. And to reduce crime? He states on his site, he’d target the issues impacting crime: “Studies have shown that recreation reduces crime particularly among youth. Yet Rochester has reduced recreation funding by a third in the last decade. It is time to include recreation as part of a plan for public safety and use it as a tool for crime reduction.” White said that he’d push for a number of changes downtown too, including advocating for more open spaces, expanding street cleaning throughout the city and even making parking free at City Hall.
Lori Thomas, Independent. Lori Thomas is perhaps the least known of all six. She’s a retired teacher with a goal of revitalizing Rochester. Her plan includes turning many of Rochester’s vacant lots into new homes or “income-producing properties.” She added that she’d also like to create tiny homes for veterans to live in on the same sites so they can tend to the gardens and other agricultural needs. She said it’d help with the city’s homelessness issue, vacant lot issue and provide another food source. And when it comes to downtown, Thomas backs a performance venue that would back up Geva, Rochester Broadway Theatre League and other entertainment venues/organizations. She said she wants to revitalize downtown from Jefferson Avenue to Culver Road and also turn the old psychiatric center on Elmwood Avenue into a rent-controlled senior living facility. Finally, Thomas is a supporter of neighborhood schools or the idea that students should attend the schools within their immediate area. Overall, Thomas wants Rochester to become a goal for other inner-city communities, stating: “This six-phase plan for the revitalization of Rochester will provide us with a niche that will be difficult to find in other inner-cities, attracting long-term residents and increasing our revenue base. We will become the model other inner-cities use to renew their communities.”
While they may not be big-ticket candidates all have platforms worth at least exploring and discussing. Open Mic: What are your thoughts on the mayoral campaign so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our social media and have the chance to be featured on our website.