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Syracuse mayoral candidates offer ideas to combat poverty

Walsh, Lavine, Perez Williams, and Hawkins are all actively seeking the Syracuse mayoral position.

Poverty is an unquestionable item of concern in the city of Syracuse. That is why it is also an important topic of conversation among those vying to succeed Stephanie Miner as Syracuse's next mayor. All four active candidates in the race each have their own plan to combat the problem in the city.

Independent candidate Ben Walsh and Republican candidate Laura Lavine say ending poverty begins with education.

"We need to bring our businesses together with the school district to create more direct opportunities both for employment, but also for internships to start to develop those relationships very early on," Walsh said. "For those that are out of school, we really need to focus more on workforce development and alignment."

Lavine says better education will provide young people with better skills for the workforce.

"The key to turning the thing around is to make sure our students are graduating on time with their cohort, but that they are well prepared," Lavine said. "Not only do we need more jobs, but the jobs that already exist in Syracuse are sometimes, our students and our workforce is not, does not have the right skills to match those jobs. "

Juanita Perez Williams, who defeated Joe Nicoletti and Marty Masterpole in the Democratic primary Sept. 12, says she wants to get into neighborhoods and assess what's needed.

"If we're going to move forward, then we can't let anyone fall behind. So what we're going to do is really do a block-by-block analysis of where we stand, making sure all public servants in this community, those who care for and love this community are working towards helping people who need us," Perez Williams said.

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins says the city of Syracuse should be spending more money on urban revitalization.

"The city itself should apply for a grant to fix up the housing, to rebuild the infrastructure, and to create public jobs in public works and services, whether it's repairing the water lines, or providing guidance in the parks for youth or taking care of old people. Those are services," Hawkins said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Syracuse increased last year from 31 percent to 32.3 percent — while poverty overall in the U.S. declined. Those in povery in the city include 47 percent of children under the age of 18.

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