Sheppard, a Democrat, will challenge incumbent Mayor Lovely Warren, and former WROC-TV news anchor Rachel Barnhart, during a primary race in September.
According to Sheppard, his platform will focus on public safety, economic development, housing, education, and poverty.
“Make no mistake about it, I care about where the city’s been, and where it’s going, and I believe it can do so much better,” he stated.
Some of Sheppard’s proposals include establishing designated economic development areas within the city; forging partnerships with area colleges; increasing affordable housing options; and hiring more police officers, in addition to improving police-community relations.
He also said he plans to overhaul the way City Hall currently operates.
“We need to bring back the days when neighbors felt supported,” he stated. “People knew who to call, concerns were addressed, and support and resources were provided to bolster their good work. Sadly, though I’m sure that the mayor is well-intentioned, her execution has been poor and any positive results achieved have been far too limited. Not only is it difficult for our citizens to navigate the bureaucracy at City Hall – City Departments do not have the necessary guidance, support, or resources.”
In response, Mayor Lovely Warren has released the following statement:
“Since I began this journey, I have worked tirelessly to deliver more jobs, safer neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our city, and we are getting results across the board. The unprecedented level of investment, growth and development happening in every area and corner of our city is at a level today that hasn’t been seen in decades, and we will continue to work for even more progress for our neighbors who still need jobs.
It’s obvious that my political opponent is out of touch with how city hall operates today. For instance, we share our crime stats on a daily basis, in real time on our open data portal — not quarterly, not yearly but daily — so clearly the statements that have been made today, about this and other city programs, were not well researched or thought out. I understand that my political opposition has to be critical of me, because, unlike them, I have a record of creating jobs, new development, safer streets and better educational outcomes.
I am proud of what we have accomplished together as a city and I will work tirelessly, with our residents help, to continue the great momentum we have already accomplished today as we go forward to an even brighter future.”
In addition, Rachel Barnhart has also released the following statement regarding Sheppard’s announcement:
“Four months after announcing his candidacy, James Sheppard finally showed enough respect for voters to release his platform. Unfortunately for him, it’s as empty as his campaign rhetoric.
Sheppard presents no new or innovative ideas. Some of his proposals are already being done in our community. It’s too bad that when he was police chief, he didn’t practice what he preaches in his public safety platform. Notably absent in his platform is any proposal to rebuild public trust his administration helped to destroy. Sheppard’s internal affairs department never upheld allegations of excessive use of force. Sheppard also has a history of talking about use of force in a cavalier or joking manner.
Lovely Warren wants to keep doing the same things. James Sheppard wants to do the same things better. We need to move in a new direction altogether.
We need more than a personality change at City Hall. We need proposals that will reduce poverty and grow the economy. Sheppard and Warren are mired in program-first thinking. We already have a lot of programs. They’re not moving the needle. We need big-picture policy changes that will help the maximum number of people. That’s why I’ve proposed a citywide fiber internet network, adding 1,000 childcare subsidies and property tax reform that levels the playing field and helps families and businesses.”
Visit https://www.sheppardforrochester.com/news/platform to view Sheppard’s full platform.