Ben Walsh, mayor of Syracuse, traveled to New York City for the first time since being elected, and while there he spoke with the mayor of the city, met an executive with the Mets, and was invited to the governor’s mansion to speak with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Walsh, the first mayor elected in Syracuse as an Independent in over 100 years, comes from a long line of Republicans. That said, his campaign was supported strongly by both sides of the aisle, a rarity in recent times.
While Walsh was in NYC, he bumped into State Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, a Democrat also from Syracuse, who brought Walsh to meet the governor. Walsh was excited about continuing to cultivate connections with Cuomo.
The two political officials had talked on another occasion — when Walsh won the election. Over the phone, they discussed their fathers. Jim Walsh, a Republican congressman who held his seat for 10 terms, worked closely with Cuomo across party lines.
“It’s how he said he’d like to see our relationship work,” Syracuse.com reports Walsh saying. “He said he’d like to accelerate our progress in Syracuse, and I certainly would welcome it.”
Cross-aisle collaboration is certainly in short supply these days. In fact, according to the New York Times, partisan politics are at an all-time high.
Perhaps the problem is communication. The Times article suggests that because Americans increasingly live in politically homogenized neighborhoods, consume confirmation biased social media, and date online, it is much less likely to meet someone with opposing views. This leads to an utter lack of communication.
Similar communication issues lead to inefficiency and sometimes intense dislike in businesses as well. In fact, more than 80% of leaders surveyed from HR, sales, and other department say that problems can be traced to a lack of communication between internal systems.
What is a state government if not an internal system? Open communication is an optimistic signal for Syracuse and New York as a whole because it bridges a gap. As Walsh gets to work on executing his campaign promises, the real brilliance is found in collaboration between two individuals with utterly different political backgrounds.