‘I want it bad’: Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh treating race against Democratic challenger as if it’s a dead heat

On the Trail

NewsChannel 9 is going “On The Trail” with all three candidates for Mayor of Syracuse: Republican Janet Burman, Democrat Khalid Bey and independent incumbent Mayor Ben Walsh.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When asked if it feels like it’s been four years since his last campaign, Mayor Ben Walsh says “yes and no.”

“A lot has changed since then,” Walsh said. “The world has changed since then.”

He hopes the City of Syracuse has changed for the better.

In 2017, Walsh became the city’s first independent mayor in 100 years.

Four years ago, Walsh’s slogan was “rise above.” This year’s spin-off is “keep rising.”

Walsh describes this campaign as a delicate balance between celebrating his administration’s accomplishments with the extremely important work left undone.

Bringing donuts, halfmoons and coffee to Brighton Towers allows him to hear from voters directly.

“We’re talking about how handsome you are,” one woman told him. But the conversations aren’t all compliments. Some people asked about crime, which has become a critical campaign issue for all three candidates.

“This is not where I grew up,” one resident said. Another said, “Some people think it’s the police chief.”

Mayor Walsh disagreed.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Walsh clarified the idea that crime is up. Statistically, overall crime in Syracuse is down, according to city data. The credit goes to the decrease in theft and burglaries.

“But it shows violent crime is up,” Walsh says. “When you think about what has the most impact on a community, it’s violent crime.”

If elected again, Mayor Walsh plans to expand a specialty police unit that takes guns off the streets, invest in community members already interrupting violence in neighborhoods, and heal the underlying conditions like adding economic opportunity for young people.

When it comes to other issues, Walsh’s team put together a packet that shares his track record and his vision for a second term.

“Number one,” says Walsh, “There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing and that continues to try to be the case right now. Number two, that I really need another four years to execute the plan and the vision I came in with. I want it bad and I’m doing my best to earn it.”

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