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How Can Syracuse Be More Sustainable? Mayoral Candidates Weigh In

syracuse mayor 2021 debate
Jessica Lisi
City of Syracuse
WAER's Chris Bolt moderates a forum between Syracuse's three mayoral candidates (from left to right): Khalid Bey (D), Ben Walsh (I), Janet Burman (R).

Sustainability is a key component across city government for Syracuse’s three mayoral candidates. Incumbent Ben Walsh, Democrat Khalid Bey, and Republican Janet Burman all have their own ideas on how to make Syracuse more sustainable.

A big part of Khalid Bey’s platform includes addressing the environmental racism left over from the construction of Interstate 81.

“We inherited a lot of the industrialized racism that we experience in neighborhoods like mine where communities, communities of color, marginalized communities are living near spaces like viaducts. I have a respiratory issue from living in close proximity to the viaduct, I’m one of those children who grew up with that issue,” said Bey.

Republican Janet Burman is concerned about economic sustainability. She says the key is improving work readiness at the ground level.

“I think that has to be done on a micro level. I think we have to have people in the community, volunteering in the community, going out from our religious organizations, going out from our community organizations and actually talking to people in the community,” said Burman.

Mayor Walsh, running for re-election, wants to improve the city's housing stock. He says past approaches have not been successful.

“What we’ve learned is that concentrating any type of housing whether its low-income housing or luxury housing in one place doesn’t work – it’s not sustainable,” said Walsh.

The three candidates made their pitches at a forum held by Focus Greater Syracuse, Greening USA, and the CNY Solidarity Coalition. Election Day is November 2.