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Campaign Message Doesn't Change, But Focus Does for Khalid Bey after Final Mayoral Primary Results

Khalid Bey for Mayor desk.jpg
Khalid Bey narrowly defeated Michael Greene to be democratic nominee. Now focus is on November, emphasizing, jobs, police improvement, more efficient public services.

Now that the ballot for November’s Mayoral election in Syracuse is set, democrat Khalid Bey is ready to shift gears in his campaign. He found out Tuesday that he’s the party nominee … and WAER’s Chris Bolt reports on what’s next.

Khalid Bey is spending the next couple weeks ramping up for the general election, after getting final results from the June 22nd primary that was determined by absentee ballots. He says no that he can look forward, the message really doesn’t change.

“To me. It’s about the family, it’s about reduction of unemployment, it’s about building one- and two-family homes to be able to improve our tax base. It’s about eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies in government. That’s my first target going in. So, I’ll say that course.”

He’s coming off of a razor thin primary win over Michael Greene who had more than a dozen detailed proposals to improve the city. Bey says he likes creative ideas, but not at the expense of the taxpayer. Now his attention shifts to defeating Mayor Ben Walsh and Republican Janet Burman. He believes voters will have two primary issues on their minds when they make a selection: finding work opportunities and, increasingly, public safety.

“It’s going to be a matter of, the majority of people concerned about public safety, who they believe can do two things: One, improve community-police relations; two, make neighborhoods safer. And the person with the more practical approach to achieving that will, I think, have a great chance to win. I think the mayor has lost his opportunity in that.”

Of course, the Walsh administration launched a 16-point plan for police reform, but Bey says it’s not getting results on the streets or in the minds of residents. Bey knows another element in the race will be the pandemic.

“It’s what makes it in some ways an uphill battle, an incumbent who has at least a respectable amount of likeability. But also coming out of a crisis, it’s usually the intent of people to stay where they’re comfortable. I question whether people are comfortable though. And I think many of our constituents would express the same.”

Voters often don’t make a change during a crisis. But that’s if they’re generally comfortable, which Bey contends, many are not. He can also see advantages to having a democrat lead the city … from a more collective philosophy.

“We understand the value of self-determinism because I can’t feed you if I don’t have food, but it’s the fact that I do make an attempt to help you eat. I’m not saying figure it out on your own. And that is the different between democrats and the right. We care about the well-being of the other person. Empowerment is the name of the game. So, to have that at every level of government, I think gives us great opportunity.”

One final challenge might be energizing people to vote at all … coming off of extremely low participation in the primary.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.