As you may expect in a debate between two members of the same party, Janet Burman and Thomas Babilon were, for the most part, extremely cordial to one another, but both made it a point to explain to voters why they believe they are the best candidate for the job of mayor of Syracuse.
“I will guarantee that under my administration, people will feel safe in their homes, safe on the street, safe in their parks and parking lots, and safe in their interactions with law enforcement,” Burman said.
“I want to make the city of Syracuse the most business friendly city in the state of New York,” Babilon said. “I want to make the city safer, more enjoyable and a cheaper place for its residents. I want to make the city’s government more efficient and effectively run.”
What You Need To Know
- The two Republicans hoping to advance in the race for mayor of Syracuse debated Tuesday night on Spectrum News 1
- The candidates hit on a number of issues including the economy, jobs, youth violence, Black Lives Matter, public safety and policing
- The candidates also had some fun with lightning round questions, where they had some laughs over their favorite sausage sandwich, which television show they last binge watched and what is one their bucket list
Over the course of the hour, the candidates offered their thoughts on a number of critical issues within the city of Syracuse — everything from the economy and jobs to youth violence, Black Lives Matter and public safety.
Perhaps the most discussed issue, however, was policing. Both candidates called for an increase in police officers and diversity, with Babilon promoting an auxiliary force of neighborhood volunteers to serve as a go-between and help each side communicate better.
“They could be on the scene and perhaps stop an officer from going too far or talk with neighbors and explain to them the situation that’s going on,” Babilon said.
Burman is pushing for larger staffing to allow for more officer training and the ability to assign officers certain areas on a permanent basis, in essence, becoming a part of their community.
“I think it can be born out, but more police gives us an opportunity to have greater trust between citizens and police,” she said.
About halfway through the debate, Spectrum News 1 took some time to have some fun and learn about both Burman, an economist, and Babilon, now a family court attorney with a decade of experience working in City Hall, with the lightning round of questions. The candidates discussed everything from marijuana dispensaries, which both support, to their favorite sausage sandwich in the city and even which TV they last binged.
“This is incredibly embarrassing, but I’m watching ‘She-Ra’ with my 15 year old daughter right now,” Babilon laughed.
They even shared their bucket list.
“I’d like to sing the National Anthem before a baseball game,” Burman admitted.
But in all, the debate was truly designed for the voters. It’s a chance to learn a lot more about the person who could be representing everyone in the city in just a matter of months.
On Wednesday, Spectrum News 1 will host a debate with the Democratic candidates. Michael Greene and Khalid Bey will be debating the issues and you can watch that starting at 7:30 p.m.
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