In 2013, the former mayor showed the Editorial Board of the Democrat and Chronicle the budgetary challenges facing the City of Rochester. The men and women around the table represented at least 100 combined years of experience in business and community leadership. Everyone scratched their heads.
This exercise by spreadsheet symbolizes a style accepted by people who deal in figures and speak to logic from a ledger. As a young and highly impressionable participant, this buttoned-up, “open-book” approach appealed to my own private-sector comfort. The hard numbers stared back at me in black and white.
For me, this ultimately led to my support for the incumbent, a competent manager who focused on fiduciary stability following the Great Recession.
As I reflect on this period and my decision, I’m reminded why today I support Mayor Lovely Warren. As a candidate, Mayor Warren emphasized the divide between two Rochesters; in many ways her own life story bridges these two realities. Moreover, she championed the need for a vision. She called upon citizens to believe in their city.
Four years later, her campaign call to action remains a guiding principle within her administration. It serves as a beacon of hope that cannot be found within the rows or columns of any balance sheet. I’ve been fortunate to witness moments when Mayor Warren asked for a little more patience so she could put in that extra bit of work to find a solution. Mayor Warren reaches the finish line against all the odds.
As I look ahead to the future of the Rochester region I’m reminded just how naive I was at that table in 2013. The numbers alone will never show the sum of the possibilities. They never do. The inspiration, ideas, and innovations that define our community today exist because people like George Eastman, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony believed in something bigger than the boundaries of the status quo.
This mentality reflects the Mayor I’ve grown to admire, respect, and work alongside. She understands the city’s citizens more than anyone else I’ve met over the past 10 years. While mindful of the numbers, she always ties it back to the narrative of ordinary people she knows and loves.
Four years ago, the candidate I chose embodied the sensible leadership that epitomizes the “Rochester way” born from the boardrooms of business a la Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb — management with a stable, steady hand. I used to think that’s all leadership looked like, but I was mistaken.
Real leadership takes on many forms. And that’s why Mayor Warren remains the best choice for Rochester this September. Real leaders ask us to believe and I believe in her.