The crowded race for Syracuse mayor just got another contender.
Raymond Blackwell, an education reform activist and community organizer, has officially joined the race. In fact, Blackwell is also seeking the endorsement of the local Democratic Party in his bid for the Syracuse mayor’s office, but he’ll have to compete against six other Democratic candidates. So far, Blackwell is the ninth candidate in the race.
At just 27-years-old, Blackwell is an unusually young candidate for any office, let alone the city’s top politician. But according to Syracuse.com, Blackwell has deep roots in the city.
Reporter Chris Baker writes, “Blackwell, 27, grew up on Lodi St. on the city’s North Side. He graduated from Fowler High School in 2007. He met his wife while attending Long Island University and the two moved to Syracuse after graduation. In Syracuse, he earned a Master’s Degree in cultural foundations of education from Syracuse University.”
Blackwell told Syracuse.com that he’s been thinking about running for mayor since 2013, when he graduated from Syracuse University.
“I decided to stay here because of the frustration festering inside me with the school district and the community and the overall climate,” Blackwell said. “It was horrific.”
In an age of instant gratification, when 40% of people will ditch a website if it doesn’t load in just three seconds, how does Blackwell hope to capture the public’s attention?
Besides being the youngest candidate in the mayor’s race, he also has a far more exciting background than the typical bland and inoffensive political candidate.
Like many politicians, Blackwell has a wife and child (a 10-month-old daughter); however, he’s also a rapper. In 2009, he won the Syracuse Area Music Award for Best Hip-Hop under the stage name RayWellz. He also helps coach youth basketball and has worked with the Boys and Girls Club.
While Blackwell doesn’t have any political experience, that could actually be an advantage now that voters of both political parties are rejecting career politicians in favor of outsider candidates.
Even though he’s much younger than the typical mayoral candidate, he wouldn’t actually be the youngest mayor in the city’s history.
Syracuse’s famous “boy mayor” was also 27 when he ran the city in 1896.