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Politics and Government

Syracuse Republican mayoral candidate says city needs fresh face, political outsider

Ellen Abbott
Laura Lavine, Republican candidate for mayor of Syracuse.

Republican candidate for mayor of Syracuse Laura Lavine said she would turn the city around like she has with the Lafayette School District. Lavine has spent 40 years in public education and is in her third year as the district’s superintendent. Lavine said she would use her administrative skills as mayor.

Lavine said the election of President Donald Trump showed voters wanted somebody different and she thinks the same will be true for Syracuse.  

“When we look at some of the people who have expressed interest in the mayoralty, many of them have had experience in current or former administrations," Lavine said. "I’m a fresh face, I’m a political outsider, that’s what makes for a change election.”

Lavine touts getting the Lafayette School District off the state comptrollers’ fiscal stress list as one of her accomplishments. 

“At the same time, we’ve increased our literacy rates, our graduation rates, our safety and security," Lavine said. "All of those things can be done by being fiscally prudent. Those are skills that are required to be the leader of a city too. The issues are different but the skillset that is required is the same. You need to have someone who is analytical, who is communicative, who knows how to collaborate with people, not put road blocks in the way of development. Somebody who knows how to look for cost avoidances, cost efficiencies, generate revenue.”

Lavine agreed with the Consensus report for consolidating city services with Onondaga County but said there is not enough local support for combining the governments. Plus, she said the elephant in the room is that the report did not tackle city schools.

“We don’t have safe schools and are our schools are not producing enough high school graduates," Lavine said. "We don’t have people that want to live in the city and the primary reason is crime, schools, poverty, infrastructure. You can't get your ship righted, financially, educationally and from a safety perspective, if you don't know how to collaborate with everybody, find the areas of agreement, learn how to capitalize on those and figure out how to move your agenda forward in the areas where you disagree.”

Lavine is the only Republican to announce her candidacy for mayor so far.