Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Democrat Bill Kinne stresses character in race for Onondaga County Executive

Three middle-aged men standing and talking to each other.
Scott Willis
Onondaga County Legislator Bill Kinne, center, chats with supporters at the Valley American Legion at his campaign launch May 17, 2023.

Editor's note: WAER will also be speaking with Ryan McMahon

Onondaga County voters start going to the polls on Saturday to choose who will lead the county for the next four years. Longtime Democratic legislator Bill Kinne is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Ryan McMahon, who’s seeking a second term as county executive. Kinne says he’s running on a platform of integrity, honesty and respect.

 “I think this race is really about two things: Leadership and character.”

Kinne credits McMahon for leading the county and its residents through the uncertainty of the pandemic. But he faults him for the lack of transparency inside county government.

 “When Nick Pirro was county executive and I was a legislator and Joanie Mahoney was executive, and I was a legislator, if I wanted to talk to a department head, I could. No questions asked," Kinne said. "Since Ryan became...first, he became the chairman of the legislature. But that's when it started. We were denied the opportunity to talk and he just made it worse when he became executive.”

Kinne says that severely limits lawmakers abilities to monitor county operations and question how taxpayer money is being spent. He says McMahon also dropped the ball on the proposed closure of Jamesville Correctional Facility, the $85 million aquarium, and redistricting.

 “You can't have someone in your department draw the maps that's not qualified. That's not what the county charter says," Kinne said. "I like the idea of an aquarium. I don't like the way it's been put forth with the taxpayer paying for it all. Closing Jamesville with no input that I'm aware of, or any other legislator that I've talked to is aware of. It's just not right.”

Kinne says if elected, he’ll have more aggressive plans for housing and infrastructure. He acknowledges he lacks money and name recognition, but feels he has the character to run county government.

 “People can trust me and they know that. We might not agree, but I'll listen to them," Kinne said. "And I will tell them why I disagree with them, and if they can prove me wrong, well, good for them and I'll change. But I listen to people. I don't demand things. And I think as I've been out on the campaign trail people are very happy to hear.”

 Early voting begins Saturday, October 28 at ten locations across the county and continues through Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 7.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at