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Politics & Government

Syracuse Mayoral Race Likely To Feature GOP Primary After Lawyer Tom Babilon Enters Fray

Courtesy Babilon for Syracuse

The field of candidates for Syracuse mayor continues to grow with another candidate announcing plans to run as a Republican. Lawyer Tom Babilon served as a city attorney for 10 years from the end of the Driscoll administration, through the Miner administration, into the first months of the Walsh administration.

“One of the mistakes that I’ve seen every mayor make when they come in is they’ve gotten rid of a large part of the institutional experience in the city,” Babilon said. “They come in and replace all the people that know what they’re doing and what’s going on with their own people.”

He says that can lead to blunders like the recent proposed contract with the Syracuse Police Department, which was not approved by common councilors after they discovered it would cost far more than the Walsh administration estimated. Babilon says another common theme he’s seen is how the city handles businesses of different sizes.

“On one end you’ll have a large developer come in and the city will roll out the red carpet and they’ll give all kinds of tax breaks, on the other end you’ll have the small business guy that’s just trying to feed his family and they’ll drag him into court and make him go to the variance board,” he said.

Babilon says he’d work to bring back a city-run department of economic development to streamline business growth. City republicans have already backed Janet Burman, who now says she will seek the nomination after initially hesitating.  She has also been endorsed by the Conservative Party. Babilon says he will mount a primary.  He feels he comes to the mayoral race with an advantage.

“We are going to appeal to the people that are more moderate, that will listen to both sides of an issue. I think that Ben (Walsh) is not going to carry as many Republicans this year, they’re going to split the Democrat vote between Ben and whoever will run on the Democratic line and I think we got a good shot to win it.”

Babilon says he’s a strong candidate because he’s worked for years bringing two sides together to find agreement in court. Democrat councilors-at-large Michael Greene and Khalid Bey are also in the race, as well as Mayor Ben Walsh running for re-election with the Independence Party.