When Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner finishes her second term as the city’s first female mayor in 2018, Democratic mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams hopes to fill her shoes. But Perez Williams is facing a crowded field; already, 10 candidates have announced plans to run for the office.
To convince upstate voters that she’s the right politician for the job, Perez Williams is touting her close working relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as Joanie Mahoney, the Onondaga County Executive. According to Syracuse.com, Perez Williams previously worked under Miner as her corporation counsel, but left that job in 2011 to work with the Cuomo administration. However, she resigned from her position as the regional director of the state Labor Department in March to join the Syracuse mayor’s race.
Perez Williams hopes her ties with the governor will appeal to voters, drawing a stark contrast with Miner, who famously feuded with Cuomo over the years.
Workplace environment experts say that only one in three Americans is “engaged” in their work at any given time, but no one can accuse Miner of acting complacent during her career.
Back in 2013, Miner famously published a New York Times op-ed that called out Governor Cuomo for ignoring Upstate New York’s severe budget problems. She did so without warning, as only a few close aides and family members knew she was in communication with the publication. While many upstate politicians may have agreed with her views in private, few were willing to engage in such a public fight with Cuomo.
But despite the lack of approval from other mayors and political officials, Miner stuck to her gut and published the controversial piece.
“This was something I decided to do as mayor of the city of Syracuse,” she explained to Syracuse.com. “I worry about being able to provide a high quality of life for people in the city, even if it’s five years from now when I won’t be mayor because I care deeply about the city. I’m passionate about it.”
Miner’s public display of disapproval is quite different than Syracuse mayoral candidate Perez Williams. This May, Perez Williams released a public statement detailing how her positive relationship with Governor Cuomo will help her better serve Syracuse voters if she wins the election.
If Williams wins, she plans on utilizing her strong relationship with Cuomo in order to create a political agenda with the goal of erasing the city’s $18.5 million budget deficit.
“Relationships are everything,” Perez Williams said in the statement. “I have these relationships. And I believe the conversations will be different, with the state and the county, absolutely, and even with our regional partners.”
Williams is one of 10 people who have decided to run for mayor. The Democratic primary will be held in September.