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Schultz, Majok reflect on respective At-Large Common Council primary loss and win

Three people sit at desks in front of microphones
Scott Willis
Left to right: Common Councilors Jennifer Schultz, Patrick Hogan, Chol Majok

Common Councilors Jennifer Schultz and Chol Majok share what's next, following the recent election.

A primary challenge without a party endorsement. That’s how Jennifer Schultz won her Common Council seat two years ago, and how she lost the recent election. She’s not sure what’s next for her, she says, but considers it a "total honor and privilege" to have been chosen to represent District 1 in 2021.

Schultz says in her remaining six months on the Council, she’ll continue to focus on affordable housing, illegal marijuana sales and bus rapid transit.

Schultz saw her district disappear with the recent redistricting, and says that was the primary reason she ran for a city-wide position on the Council.

"Had the maps not changed, I probably wouldn’t have sought the At-Large seat," she said, "because I felt like I was losing an area that I had done a lot of work in and was planting a lot of seeds and making a lot of connections. And then to have that just scooped away, I thought, well, I should go At-Large."

Schultz she says she knew it wouldn't be easy going up against incumbent At-Large Councilor Rita Panaiagua, as well as Chol Majok, both of whom were endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Majok, who also lost his third district due to remapping, won his At-Large bid. He says he’s grateful for the city-wide support, and looking forward to reaching even more constituents, downtown, on the east side and beyond.

"Not that I couldn’t reach them before," said Majok, but now it's "official. And now, rather than looking at city issues from a district lens, I'll be able to look at them more holistically."

That includes, he says, the challenges that are still “hovering over" Syracuse, such as high rates of poverty and violence.

Meanwhile, in the only district races in the last week’s election, both party-endorsed candidates — Sean Reed, Jr. and Bruce Connor — lost to challengers Marty Nave and Patrona Jones-Rowser, respectively.

Natasha Senjanovic teaches radio broadcasting at the Newhouse School while overseeing student journalists at WAER and creating original reporting for the station. She can also be heard hosting All Things Considered some weekday afternoons.