Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Rochester Member Of City Council - At Large {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

City Council is the nine-member legislative body for the City of Rochester that works in conjunction with the Mayor's Office to pass laws and govern the city. City Council is comprised of five at-large members who represent the entire city and four district members who are the voice for the South, Northwest, East, and Northeast sections of the city.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Pam Davis (WF) Artist, Mother, Activist

  • Shawn P. Dunwoody (WF)

  • Chris Edes (L, Rfm)

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    Malik D. Evans (Dem, WF) Banker

  • Anthony Giordano (Grn)

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    Mitch D. Gruber (Dem) Chief Program Officer, Foodlink

  • Candidate picture

    Andrew C. Hollister (Rep, Con, L, Rfm) IT Guru / Small Business Owner

  • Candidate picture

    Matt Juda (WE) Teacher-High School Science (Biology)

  • Candidate picture

    Ann C. Lewis (Write-in) Educator/ Adovocate

  • Willie J. Lightfoot (Dem)

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    Mary Lupien (WF) Teacher RCSD

  • Jackie Ortiz (Dem, WF, Ind, WE)

  • Ronald R. Ring (Grn)

  • Loretta C. Scott (Dem, WE)

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What do you see as the main challenge the City faces and what solution do you propose?

Identify one initiative that City Council could propose to address youth crime?

What would you do to create workplace opportunities in Rochester?

Beyond measures already in place, what can be done in Rochester to meet the challenges of climate change?

The most daunting challenge facing our city is the concentration of poverty. This is due to many factors, but the lack of good paying, entry-level jobs is a huge obstacle. I would like to bring back factory positions, but with a 21st century vision. I would like the City of Rochester to be a leader in the clean energy and renewable resource field. I believe that we have bright minds in our area colleges who are able to create energy efficient storage and delivery systems which we can utilize in our city. I would like to have our city produce solar panels and wind turbines to be sold worldwide. I would also want to see these installed on every home possible, to bring down energy costs for homeowners, especially for seniors on fixed incomes. These would be the on-the-job training jobs that someone without a college degree could support a family on with a living wage. I want to grow our economy from within, supporting small businesses, and encourage entrepreneurs in our City of Rochester.
One initiative that City Council could propose to address youth crime is to offer jobs to our younger citizens. The young people that I see hanging around the mini-marts and corners are often involved in illegal activities, especially dealing and using drugs. People are selling drugs, or committing crimes like burglary and robbery, out of desperation. If you give someone a job, you remove that negativity, and give that person a new outlook on life. You give them a boost of confidence, and let them know that they are a valuable person in our society. I would like to establish/expand a program that rehabs/repairs our city's houses for homeowners who are not financially able to do it themselves. This program would have mentors from the trades, teaching skills like plumbing, electrical, masonry, carpentry, and especially how to install windows and doors, which will help decrease our lead paint poisoning problem as well. I want to offer a hand up to our young people, as they are our future.
My ideas for workplace opportunities in Rochester focus on bringing jobs to our citizens, by rehabbing and repairing houses. I have seen successful programs work on a smaller scale, like the Flower City Work Camp, but that program is limited to a week or two each year, and the students who participate must fund raise and be sponsored by their church. I would like our city to support our own students, and expand this sort of program. I would utilize grants, bulk purchasing power, and donations to fund the supplies needed to help renovate these houses. I would like to see our city fix and then sell our vacant homes, to get families into these homes, which will help stabilize neighborhoods. I also want to see Rochester be a leader in the clean energy and renewable resource field. We could manufacture tree-shaped wind turbines that could be on every city block, as well as produce solar panels, and install them on every owner-occupied home, lowering energy costs for city homeowners.
We must provide a safe future for our planet. Climate change is real, and we must make changes to lower our community's carbon footprint. I would like to see our public transportation be more accessible and convenient to encourage more people to use it as their first choice, rather than their only choice. Many people struggle to use the current bus system, as those who are in charge of the bus system do not use the bus system themselves; they do not have first-hand knowledge of what taking the bus is like. I would like the bus system to operate more frequently, and to add bus stops, rather than remove them. I would like to see bus shelters, as well as benches, added to as many stop locations as possible. Again, the people in charge of the bus system have never waited in the elements trying to take the bus to school or to work. They haven't had to walk an extra block or two with a child in the cold, or carried heavy groceries home from the store. Empathy and compassion would help all.
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Campaign Phone (585) 423-2207
Profession Banker
Lack of opportunity and high levels of poverty are major challenges in our city. As a Rochester City Council member, I will focus on neighborhoods, jobs and youth. I will work to strengthen our city by creating a Rochester where neighborhoods are safe and strong, good-paying jobs are the standard, and our children and youth have the opportunity to grow into contributing members of society. Good paying Jobs lead to stable families that strengthen neighborhoods thereby making our city strong.

First it is important to note that most of our youth are not involved in crime and are good community citizens. We must work to expand job opportunities for youth as well as recreational opportunities. When young people are engaged and connected they are less likely to be involved in criminal activity. Youth Employment sets are children up for success.
Pairing people with job skills and training would be one strategy for creating workplace opportunities in Rochester. We must also support small businesses because they have the ability to strengthen neighborhoods while offering employment opportunities to our citizens.
Rochester should evaluate the items that were in the Paris Climate agreement and ascertain if there are things that we could do locally that was entailed in that landmark agreement. Some other cities across the country are taking this approach to try and meet the needs of climate change.
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Campaign Phone (585) 690-6844
Profession Chief Program Officer, Foodlink
Concentrated poverty is the most critical issue facing the city of Rochester. Though there is no silver bullet that can fix this issue, we can be innovative and creative to spur investment in the poorest parts of our city. I believe that we must amend our zoning laws to encourage the repurposing of vacant lots. These lots tend to be sources of negativity in a neighborhood, and symbols of divestment. We can turn them into gardens, nature playspaces, and community centers that engage neighbors while also providing job training skills to youth.
The City can and should support the effort of non-profits like Teen Empowerment to address youth crime. Moreover, the City must develop a plan to improve police-community relations. I'd like to see police walking neighborhood beats, and working with small business owners (Barbershops, Salons, Mechanics, etc.) to engage youths and families in their community. An improvement in police-community relations will help to reduce youth crime.
We have a middle skills gap in Rochester. The middle skills are those that require more than a HS degree, and less than a Bachelors. We must develop middle skills job training programs to help connect people to livable wage jobs. This work is being done in a few sectors right now: manufacturing via YAMTEP, and the food industry at Foodlink. The City can support these initiatives and work with employers and educators to develop new middle skills job training programs.
We should strive to reduce our reliance on automobiles, and continue to make Rochester more walkable and bikeable. I'd like for the City to have more active transportation specialists on staff.
Campaign Phone (315) 292-8306
Profession I was raised in the 19th ward, graduated from Wilson on Genesee St, and started my business in the city. About 7 years ago I moved to the Lyell-Otis neighborhood where I bought my first home. My wife and I just recently moved to Charlotte. I am running for City Council because I am starting my family here in the city. I want to see the city become a better place to raise a family for everyone in our community. I will fight for our families to all have safer streets, better opportunities, better education, and more jobs.
It hurts me deeply to see the state that our city is in. We have hit the top 5 list for poorest cities in the nation, we rank in the top 5 for childhood poverty, and have the lowest graduation rate in the state.

To address these issues we need to address the fact that our city government has been ran by the same people and the same party for well over a decade with no opposition. We have nine people on city council from the same party who consistently vote 9-0 on legislation or 8-0-1 (because someone on the council has a conflict of interest). This echo chamber has derailed progress in our city and our families have paid the price.

We need an opposing voice on city council that says “Hey guys this is a bad idea.” The lack of opposition on city council is a lack of diversity in our city government. This is a diversity that our city is in dire need of.
Crime in our city has had a tragic impact on our community, and has negatively impacted our youth in many ways. Our city constantly ranks nationally for high crime. Our crime is a symptom of our poverty. Our poverty is a symptom of poor government policies. The numbers speak for themselves.

We need to address two major issues in our city if we ever hope to resolve these issues. The constant struggle to create jobs and the lack of a quality education that qualifies graduates for the jobs they seek. To create jobs we must update our city regulations to meet the new economic needs of small businesses. We also need to focus on building strategic alliances with our small businesses so that young adults at the age of 16 can start apprenticing in trades. This way when they graduate at age 18 they will have 2 years of industry experience, they will be job ready, and immediately employable. If you want to stop crime in our city we must create jobs and give people the means to fill them.
One of the things I love most about Rochester is the number of small businesses we have. More than 90% of our local jobs come from small businesses. Our current city code isn’t built with small businesses in mind. It was built with the idea that big corporations such as Kodak and Xerox would be the main employers of our city.

Our city regulations make it too hard for small businesses to be successful in our city. Ultimately driving them out of the city, or out of business. I would fight to make it so that the easiest part of starting your business in the city is working with city government. Today it is the hardest.

I want to remove the barriers that put large corporations at an unfair advantage over our small businesses, and to ensure that we have a focus on making Rochester a competitive place to open your business, almost all of which can be done by updating our archaic city code to more modern policies. If we do these things we will create more jobs and more opportunity.
Sustainability is something I am very passionate about, and it is something we practice in our home on a daily basis. The city has been working to make Rochester a green city, but I would like to see us bring our focus on more than just solar power.

We should set an example by switching municipal buildings to a zero waste system. I have met with organizations that do this to discuss the process. Surprisingly converting facilities to zero waste usually costs nothing or gives you a long term savings. If we started small by switching City Hall to zero waste, we could then expand into the School District.

Why the schools? Because if students learn how to be environmentally responsible at a young age we can plant the seeds for a better future. Children also love taking what they learn home. When those children bring zero waste habits home we can over time make a change citywide. Small changes like these will make a huge impact on Rochester’s future.
Campaign Phone (585) 797-4085
Profession Teacher- High School Science (Biology) Rochester City School District
The main challenge the City faces is ensuring that all residents have their needs met while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget. On an annual basis, the City faces a budget deficit. City Council needs to examine the budget and identify citywide priorities and ensure that those areas are supported while also being mindful of the need to reduce the structural deficit. Additionally, we need to recruit and retain residents to increase our tax levy, to help fund our priorities. To accomplish recruiting and retaining residents, we need to address challenges with our schools and ensure we are providing quality services to residents. City Council needs to collaborate with the School Board in creating centers of community in all neighborhoods that incorporate neighborhood schools, youth, adult, senior and family recreation programs, targeted non-profit support and community based health centers.
I believe we need to support one of the most effective programs that the City has created for youth. The Summer of Opportunity program has significantly more applicants annually than the budget allows. Youth in Rochester WANT TO WORK! Despite this, the budget for this program is continually declining. This should be used as a proactive program to engage our youth. It will help engage them in school. It will get them off the streets and reduce the cost for policing in the long term. To this end, rather than reducing the program we need to find ways to significantly expand the program! The program should operate year round with local business partners as co-sponsors of these jobs. The City should place the money recaptured by eliminating tax breaks to huge developers into this program and partially fund all of the youth employed via this newly expanded program. Additionally, jobs need to be contingent on school attendance, performance and progress toward graduation.
Locally owned, neighborhood businesses, which are supported by the local community, are the key to economic prosperity and long-term employment stability. Too often we spend a large amount of time, money and tax abatements to large employers to encourage them to move into the City. All too often we see those businesses turn around and get bought out or close their local operation. I will propose an initiative that will engage local neighborhoods in developing a vision for their community. This would engage businesses, schools, neighborhood associations and residents in a community discussion to develop a 10 year plan. The plan would provide a vision for the aesthetic and desire for development for that specific community. In creating the plan, the City would have a tool to drive growth for the neighborhood that was already supported by the community. First, it will signal the type of business the neighborhood wants and provide jobs within walking distance within the neighborhood.
The City should investigate providing tax incentives on the local level to encourage home-owners and business to convert to solar and wind power. Additionally, we should restructure tax incentives for development to ensure projects are required to have alternative energy included in their developments. By reducing the number of tax subsidies for other businesses and developments, the money recaptured can be used to provide grants for installation of alternative energy sources. Beyond climate change ,we need to protect our waterways by addressing the issues of invasive species and work with the DEC to reduce the introduction of such organisms into the area. We need to educate the community about the need to protect storm water, reduce reliance on fertilizers, and the impact of pet waste on our watershed. Lastly, we need to reduce the amount of waste being placed in landfills by expanding the current home totter program for recycling and investigate community composting.
Campaign Phone (585) 325-3345
Profession Teacher
I must take liberty and advise there is no one main challenge facings the City of Rochester. Our city is has excessive property taxes, poor performing schools, lack of support for small businesses, lack of support for day care providers by the county and the city, unemployment, lack of senior friendly housing and it appears lack of appreciation for the sacrifice our Veterans have made to this country. There is no Police Accountability Board with binding sanctions, far too many vacant lots, poor public transportation system and last but not least no transparency in City Hall. The solution to these problems, would be for our elected officials to sincerely put the needs of the residents within our city first, not just when you have hopes of being re-elected. That is why I am still running as a Write-In Candidate for City Council. I am a compassionate listener, who is determined and committed to implementing the goals my neighbors and I jointly establish for our city.
City Council needs to partner with the Rochester City School District to ensure each student placed in its care, is working not only to secure a high school diploma, but is also in a paid apprenticeship, that teaches he or she a trade. Children appear to have too much idle time, which is a one of the major catalyst for negative behaviors.
To create workplace opportunities in Rochester I would; make available for our youth and adults more paid apprenticeship opportunities. I would enhance our public transportation system, and develop more supports for current and start up to small business ownership in Rochester.
I would make the challenges of climate change a real priority for our city. We need to stop the hurdles that need to be "jumped over" to get the grant money that is currently available. Many residents get tired of the wait list for a grant, and then the running out of the grant money, when it is almost their turn to begin the energy efficient modifications to their home, with the grant believed to be awarded to them by the city.

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Campaign Phone (585) 406-4709
Profession Human Services, Teacher
No response fromPoverty is our biggest challenge but it is so overarching that no one single solution is the silver bullet. I'm focusing on 3 areas that are interconnected and that are central to helping move our neighbors out of poverty, moving Rochester forward and even taking local action on climate change. These are improving transportation, strengthening our neighborhoods and connecting people to living-wage jobs. Better public transportation and designing our streets to be more walkable and bikable will increase equity of access to jobs and services, economic development and decrease our carbon footprint. Neighborhood schools will increase neighborhood connectivity and parent involvement. Supporting small businesses and attracting new industry such as renewable energy manufacturing jobs to Rochester will increase access to living wage jobs and allow families to move out of poverty. the candidate.
One way to address youth crime is to give our youth employment opportunities. The city could expand the Summer of Opportunity program to be year round, giving youth employment opportunities that engage them as leaders in the community. Support Teen Empowerment and help them expand. TE is a wonderful model that employs youth in organizing their peers around issues they deem important in the community which empowers them individually and improves the whole community.
We have a unique opportunity to provide living wage jobs and make gains in the fight against climate change by attracting renewable energy manufacturing sector jobs to Rochester. We can do this by offering low-interest loans to building in our city. Community Choice Aggregation and Photonics and RIT are all connected to green manufacturing coupled with the industrial infrastructure at Kodak Park and Mt. Read creates the right environment to become a renewable energy manufacturing capital.
I appreciate that there is a specific question on climate change. Thank you! This is an issue that is on many voters' minds but does not get talked about enough. I support the city's existing efforts to perform a climate vulnerability study, and to implement its climate action plan. Community Choice aggregation is another unique opportunity to pool all of RGE customers' buying power and negotiate for 100% renewable energy at lower than the cost we currently pay for electricity. Additionally, we can stipulate that RGE must buy energy from local solar farms as they come online which will feed the local renewable energy manufacturing economy and provide well paying high-tech, factory and installer jobs in the community.
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