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Syracuse innovation director, Andrew Maxwell, running for mayor

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse’s Director of Policy and Innovation, Andrew Maxwell.";

Another Democratic candidate has entered into the race to be Syracuse’s next mayor. The head of the city’s innovation team said he is ready to tackle big challenges in new ways.

Syracuse’s Director of Policy and Innovation, Andrew Maxwell, said there are a lot of times when the city gets bogged down in negativity, old baggage and old arguments.

“I have a vision for the city," Maxwell said. "I’m focused on the future. I believe we need a stubborn positivity about where we need to go. I think we need to be a city that is about ideas. We need to be focused on the future we want for the city, having a fresh approach, trying new things that will improve the fundamental aspects of city living: strong schools, safe streets, reliable services connecting people to opportunity. That's where our priorities need to be. That's been the nature of my work. I've been trying new things, I've been engaged in community planning. I've worked on things like the land bank and the creek walk. I think we need those new approaches if we're going to be a stronger, healthier city in the future.”

Maxwell and his innovation team spent their first year focused on infrastructure with technologies like water system sensors that detect leaks.

“That’s the sort of knowledge that we can use to make better decisions about how we deploy city resources, making repairs before they become these big, catastrophic breaks we see in the streets," Maxwell said.

Maxwell said new technology and ideas are needed to fix many of the city’s problems. On crime, he said he wants more cameras and ShotSpotter sensors. On poverty, he wants to create more partnerships with groups like the HOPE initiative.

And to improve schools, he wants more career and technical education. Maxwell, 33, said he hears again and again from young families in Syracuse that when their children reach school age they feel they have to move to the suburbs.

“If we can’t instill confidence in the young families that live here, that have chosen to make a life here, that they can send their children to school and receive good instruction and be in a safe environment, if we can’t do that, then we are going to face very significant challenges in our future," Maxwell said. "We need to take that on.”

Maxwell will first have to take on the other Democratic candidates running for mayor including Alfonso Davis and City Auditor Marty Masterpole for the party's nomination. Current Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner can not run again because of term limits.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.