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Mayor Warren delivers First State of the City Address

By Staff

 

Warren sMayor Lovely Warren said Rochester’s “best days are ahead,’ in her first ever Sate of the City address Thursday evening, which she delivered at her alma mater, Wilson Magnet High School.

“Some may say that our future does not seem bright,” she stated. “But, to me, our best days are ahead.”

Warren went on to say jobs, safer neighborhoods, and quality education are some of the areas in which her administration has made a difference since she’s taken office, and those are the things she will continue to focus on, going forward.

“We need to bring more jobs to this city,” she stated. “We need to make our neighborhoods and streets safer. We need to make our schools perform better.”

Warren said she believes the city is “on the right path” when it comes to focusing on these concerns.

In addition, she said some of her additional goals going forward will include, “a true focus in the Rochester Police Department to actively engage citizens in the fight against crime; innovative strategies to develop a highly skilled workforce, and increase international investment in the city; and marshaling more community resources toward improving education, and helping children prepare for college or a career.”

And, although Warren acknowledged the city is still plagued by problems, she also pointed to several of her  accomplishments since taking office, including a significant reduction in crime for the first time in a decade, as well as several “transformational” development projects, including CityGate, the Port of Rochester, and an impending revitalization of the Bull’s Head area, due to a $284,000 state grant.

She also mentioned several of the city’s recent job creation initiatives, such as winning $1.3 billion in federal investment for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region; developing the Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, with the aid of a $1.9 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies; and establishing Operation Transformation Rochester, an initiative she said would provide job-skills training to residents in areas with high unemployment.

“All it takes is one job,” Warren stated. “Just one person to break the cycle of poverty, and it can uplift an entire family, and last for generations. I know this to be true because it happened to my family and many other families that raised their children here in the 1960s and 70s.”

Regarding education, the mayor said she plans to focus on the city’s Early Learning Council (ELC), and to continue developing strategies for preparing pre-kindergarten age children for school, in order to get them reading on grade level by the third grade.

She also touted her administration’s decision to increase funding for libraries and recreation centers in the city.

“To be competitive in the global marketplace, we need to do better, and we need to invest in preparing our children for their futures,” she stated. “When you have a mayor who is a mother, providing educational opportunities is a priority.”

Warren, a Democrat,  recognized her partnership with Republican Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks as well, a relationship she said ultimately helped move the CityGate project through the County Legislature.

“A city and county working together is how to get things done,” she said. “And we will continue to work together for the benefit of our taxpayers, because it is the only way to govern effectively.”

She also mentioned other city and county agreements, such as a settlement on the cost of housing un-arraigned prisoners in the Monroe County Jail, and the cost of operating the City-County 9-1-1 emergency system.

Warren ended her speech by saying she was a product of the city, and therefore knew what it meant to grow up poor.

“I am a product of this city, and I can assure you, I didn’t grow up in an affluent neighborhood,” she stated. “I know poverty, and I know what it means for people to be poor. I get it.”

Warren said she plans to continue to be a champion for Rochester’s people, and keep the city moving forward.

“With all of you here tonight as my witness, the one thing this mayor will never do is allow us to stop moving forward,” she stated.

Click HERE for a full transcript of Warren’s address.