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Politics and Government

Miner says politicians should have respectful discussions with opponents

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner at a ceremony Wednesday to recognize the Red Cross

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has become the target of political flak from both Democrats and Republicans in published reports this week. Miner, a Democrat, sees it as hyper partisanship run amok.

The first complaint comes from the central New York Area Labor Federation, AFL CIO. Leaders criticized the mayor for not publicly challenging fellow Syracusan and Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco for his opposition to the proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.  

Miner says she did talk to him about the issue when she decided to raise the minimum wage for city employees late last year.

"He said to me, ‘I disagree with you but I understand your position.’ And I disagree with Sen. DeFrancisco, but I understand his position. And we’re going to continue to have a respectful public policy discussion. Not one of smear campaigns and attack people that has become all too familiar in Albany," said the mayor.

Miner also fingers Albany as the source of criticism of her over an upcoming speech at an Onondaga County Conservative breakfast later this month. She says the fact that she is a liberal politician hasn’t stopped her from discussing the issues with conservative party members.

"I first started to have a relationship with members of the Conservative Party over my opposition to the Destiny [USA] tax deal. And since that time, and they’d be the first to say, they scratch their heads and they say, ‘'Mayor we agree with you on some things, but we don’t agree with you on everything.  And I think that’s best for our society.'”

Miner says citizens have suffered because of the political attack culture in Washington and Albany. She says she’d rather engage in good public policy discussions rather than attack someone who doesn’t agree with her political positions.

“It definitely emanates from Albany.  And this is how they engage in what I think are genuine public policy debates. You should have an exchange of facts back and forth. Not publicly attack people. I won’t engage in that.”  

Miner says she won’t be pressured into personal attacks against politicians who disagree with her political views.