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 at two sites in the City of Syracuse.

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

Janet Burman (Monday)
Thomas Babilon (Tuesday)

Michael Greene
Khalid Bey

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

On The Trail: Thomas Babilon

Thomas Babilon is the Republican challenging the primary candidate endorsed by the party’s leadership, Janet Burman.

Babilon won’t need to find his way around the hallways of Syracuse City Hall, having worked as a lawyer for city government under three mayoral administrations: Mayors Matt Driscoll, Stephanie Miner and Ben Walsh.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Babilon said, “I could really talk about any aspect of the city, forever. I was there for so long. I know the minutia of every department, of everything that goes on, and I have ideas to fix everything. There’s nobody else that has as much experience as I do. Nobody, including Ben Walsh.”

Before Babilon can beat his former boss, Ben Walsh, he has to win the Republican nomination.

Babilon wants to make Syracuse the most business-friendly city in New York State. He says his years in city hall gave him countless examples of how the city’s interpretation of ordinances makes opening a new business too challenging.

“They prevent them from opening for the most miniscule things,” Babilon says. “We should be encouraging small businesses to open up. we should be doing everything possible to fill these store fronts, to get the tax revenue generated, get people working. We need to change the way we think of small business in the city and I think I’m the person to do that.”

Tied with economic developing as Babilon’s top priority is what he considers failing public safety.

As mayor, Babilon would establish what other cities already have: a volunteer police force.

“The state has a program to train auxiliary police,” he explains. “They get 95 hours professional training, uniform allowance, they get preferential entry into regular ranks. They’ve already been vetted for morale character. It gives them a head start.”

It also gives the people of Syracuse better service, he feels, for minor incidents like car break-ins.

Babilon says he’s the better of the Republican candidates, but has to make his case to the voters between now and Primary Day.

NewsChannel 9 went “On The Trail” with Janet Burman, the Republican-endorsed primary candidate against Thomas Babilon, on Tuesday.

The Democratic candidates, Michael Greene and Khalid Bey, will be featured Thursday and Friday, respectively.

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