One race that may have flown under the radar this past election, was a councilor-at-large seat on the Syracuse Common Council. Michael Greene, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, won the election overwhelmingly, after losing a Democratic primary council race last year.
Greene won with 70 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Norm Snyder and Green Party candidate Frank Cetera.
Greene said the first time he ran for office, last year, was a challenging experience.
“There was no one to lean on to say, here’s how you file financial paperwork, here’s how you go door to door, here’s how you target likely voters," Greene said. "Every vote that I got, was probably a vote that I personally went to their door and met them one on one.”
But even though he didn’t win, a seat on the council was vacated. Councilors had to choose someone to fill it, Greene was interviewed and selected.
“When I was campaigning, you go to all the same events that all the other candidates are going to," Greene said. "You get a chance to interact with a lot of them. It wasn’t like I was coming in cold with that."
Greene was chosen to chair the Department of Public Works committee, a position that had been vacated for months. He helped oversee Syracuse’s purchase of 17,000 street lights from National Grid for $38 million, which he calls a huge investment in becoming a smart city.
“In the future, all data is going to be coming from small cell technology, which is going to be on light poles," Greene said. "The fact that the city now owns our own light poles, positions us to be able to control our digital future and to be able to actually create revenue through that.”
Looking ahead, Greene said he wants to improve the city’s walkability and roads.
"It's no secret that our roads are terrible in the city of Syracuse and that we have a long way to go in terms of paving them and improving them," Greene said. "I've started to have some conversations with the administration and hoping to get together and look at our process of how we pave roads, how we decide which roads get paved, how that information is shared with constituents, to do better with it."