NewsChannel 9 goes ‘On The Trail’ with Syracuse Democratic Mayoral Candidate Michael Greene

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In less than two weeks, Republican and Democratic voters in the City of Syracuse will choose who their parties’ candidates will be to take on Mayor Ben Walsh in November’s general election.

Early voting starts Saturday. Voters registered in the City of Syracuse can use any of four early voting sites in Onondaga County.

This week, before early voting, NewsChannel 9 is going “On The Trail” with the four candidates in two different races.

Janet Burman (Tuesday)
Thomas Babilon (Wednesday)

Michael Greene (Thursday)
Khalid Bey (Friday)

Mayor Ben Walsh is running for re-election as an independent candidate and is not running in a primary.

On The Trail: Michael Greene

As a Syracuse Common Councilor for the last three years, Michael Greene has a front-row seat to city government under Mayor Ben Walsh. Greene says he feels that the current administration is reactionary, lacking a progressive vision for the City of Syracuse.

At his campaign office on Erie Boulevard, Greene has a box of printed packets, each a copy of his 20-page vision for the city. Chapters include housing, transportation, economic opportunity, police reform and climate change.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Councilor Greene says he wants to change the “status quo.”

“It’s not about personality,” Greene says. “It’s not about who the mayor is. It’s about what they’re going to do. With our campaign, it’s clear what we’re going to do.”

At his campaign office, Greene was joined by his one-year-old daughter, Riley. She sat on his lap while he wrote thank-you notes to his campaign volunteers.

After dropping Riley off for a nap at home, her dad went to the Valley Neighborhood to meet voters, knocking on front doors, one-by-one.

At one home, Greene heard the concerns of a retired Syracuse firefighter who served the city for 35 years. He told Greene, “I don’t like the way the city is going.” He listed “public safety, police, crime, fires, you name it,” when Greene asked for more details about his concerns.

Greene tells NewsChannel 9 his most urgent priority is police reform.

When asked how he pitches to voters how to reform police without sacrificing public safety, Greene says: “We are always going to need police. Public safety is first and foremost. It’s definitely not a situation where I’m anti-police in any way. What it really is, is an accountability. If an officer does something incorrect, which is rare, but does happen, that as a city and as a society, we hold them accountable like in any other job.”

If elected mayor, Greene says he would replace the police chief position, typically a career police officer, with a public safety commissioner who has a different background in law enforcement.

“We would probably do a change in leadership,” Greene answered when asked if current Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner would keep his job.

First, Greene needs his own job as mayor. He admits he has less name recognition than his Democratic primary challenger, but feels support growing as he meets voters.

Michael Greene’s primary challenger, Democrat Khalid Bey, will be featured Friday.

NewsChannel 9 went “On The Trail” with Republicans candidates Janet Burman on Tuesday and Thomas Babilon on Wednesday.

Mayor Ben Walsh is running for re-election as an independent candidate and is not running in a primary.

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