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Sheppard outlines his platform 

Mayoral candidate James Sheppard - FILE PHOTO
  • Mayoral candidate James Sheppard
At a press conference this morning promoting his campaign for Rochester mayor, County Legislator Jim Sheppard released an extensive platform that focuses on a broad range of challenges facing the city.

Sheppard will face incumbent Lovely Warren and former television reporter Rachel Barnhart in a September primary.

Among Sheppard’s proposed initiatives:

In economic development: Sheppard says his administration would work with businesses and neighborhoods to establish “designated development areas,” create partnerships with local universities, try to attract high-tech jobs, foster the Chamber of Commerce’s idea to have businesses pledge to hire city residents, and hire an economic development commissioner with professional background in that field.

He also says he would require Project Labor Agreements for all large city construction projects. PLA’s govern hiring requirements and wages, and some critics of Mayor Lovely Warren accuse her of helping torpedo a PLA for the Rochester school district’s massive school modernization program. Warren denied that she was involved in that decision.

In public safety: Sheppard proposes hiring more police officers, establishing two additional police section offices in neighborhoods, improving coordination with other law-enforcement agencies, strengthening efforts to improve police-community relations, strengthening police leadership training and development, strengthening programs for young people, and upgrading emergency preparedness measures.

In neighborhoods and housing efforts: Sheppard wants to revive former Mayor Bill Johnson’s Neighbors Building Neighborhoods program, establish a Neighborhood Leadership Academy to train residents to serve in neighborhood associations and on city boards and commissions, find ways to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city, expand services to prevent housing foreclosures, and create a housing court to address enforcement issues.

In the fight to reduce poverty: Sheppard proposes early-intervention programs such as a “street corner intervention” program to connect people with mental health, housing, and addiction services.

In education: Sheppard wants to create Youth and Family Support Centers that would provide information and assistance on such things as colleges admission, financial aid, careers in construction, and financial literacy; expand Teen Empowerment programs; and provide support for Rochester school district programs such as School of the Arts and pre-kindergarten.

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