I received a thought provoking e-mail tonight during the airing of our debate among the three candidates for Syracuse mayor. With just one week left in the campaign the candidates have had weeks to inspire voters to support them. Even more importantly they have had all that time to convince a community it can aspire to higher ground. Yet here is what was written in the e-mail:
I'm 26 years old and have lived here over 4 years. I've been struggling with whether or not I should stay in Syracuse. After watching this Mayoral Debate, I remain concerned about the future of this city. Mia
Mia is exactly who this election is about. An intelligent young professional who is more committed to her adopted hometown than so many who grew up here. She is dedicated to helping others, but also resolved that her life should be a full one. It speaks volumes about her personality that she took time to watch the debate, examine the candidates and decide which one deserves her vote.
Mia doesn't see this election as merely a time to select a new mayor, it's bigger for her. She is selecting whether she wants to live here at all. It is a concept that should be understood by Stephanie Miner, Steve Kimatian and Otis Jennings. One of the three will be the next mayor and they must realize the stakes.
As for the concerns of an educated 26 year old career oriented woman here is what I have to say to Mia:
Thank you for writing. I can understand your struggle. You are not alone in assessing your future in Syracuse. What do you need to see happen in this community to make it a place where you will stay for the long term? I for one would like to see you and others in your age group not only stay, but take on the responsibility of making Syracuse a better community.
Electing a mayor is only one of many acts that will decide the course for the future. The people who live here are the ones who can decide. They can set a better course by actively engaging in their neighborhoods, by participating in schools and government, by demanding better jobs and a richer culture.
They can call for lower taxes and better results. They can push for safer streets and cleaner parks. They can grow small businesses and lead large ones to success in our own backyard.
You are right to question the quality of the city's future. On a spectacular autumn day like we enjoyed today an optimistic view comes easily. Take advantage of it and envision your future here in the best of conditions. Then work with others to make it happen.
Thank you for writing.
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