I love our City. I consider myself fortunate to have earned the backing of our Democratic Party.It is difficult to believe four years have passed since I first wrote asking for your endorsement of my bid to become the 53
Mayor of Syracuse. With your support, and only because of your support, I have had the privilege to serve as your Mayor. While we have accomplished muchduring these last three years, Syracuse still faces formidable challenges. It is because I believewe can continue our success in overcoming challenges and, thereby, keep Syracuse heading inthe right direction that I ask for your support in my bid to be reelected in 2013.These are historic and challenging times for all of New York's cities. We can no longer afford a business as usual standard and need to innovate in government. I hope you will agree that I havenot backed down from making the tough choices required to lead us forward. From creating newAirport Authority, consolidating multiple departments or cutting overtime and negotiatinghistoric labor contracts that hold the line on wages, I have consistently challenged the status quo.At the same time, I am proud we have forged an unprecedented partnership with OnondagaCounty to find new approaches to work together. Working with county leadership I negotiated asales tax distribution formula which—for the first time in decades—recognizes OnondagaCounty can only be healthy if Syracuse receives a fair portion of regional resources to deliver vital city services.I look forward to discussing with you my vision for the City and its neighborhoods, my mayoraltenure, and those issues important to you. In the meantime, I would like to address some of theaccomplishments my administration has made in areas critical to our future: education, economicdevelopment, and public safety.Clearly, our City cannot flourish if our school system lags. As Mayor, I have taken an activerole in grappling with the problems that confront our schools. This means an unwaveringcommitment to finding and implementing innovative solutions that dramatically boost academicachievement – improving test scores, graduation rates, and closing the achievement gap.We have expanded the “Say Yes to Education” Program to all quadrants in the City. At the sametime, despite daunting fiscal challenges, we have invested the program and worked with our governmental and non-profit partners to support and enhance the program. Today more than1,000 graduates of our high schools are attending college on the “Say Yes” promise, and another 10,000 students are taking advantage of additional Say Yes after-school or summer enrichment programs. This is a life changing opportunity for many families. I am committed to seizing theunprecedented opportunity “Say Yes” offers city students and families.Additionally, when I came into office I was confronted with a school reconstruction project, theJoint Schools Construction Board, which had floundered since being launched in 2006. I am pleased to write through hard work, diligence, and unrelenting focus, there are now four schools—Fowler, Institute at Central Tech, Dr. Weeks, and H.W. Smith—under construction andon schedule. My January 24 State of the City message will be delivered this year in the newlyrenovated Dr. Weeks School which reopened its doors to students on January 4.