Springfield City Council President Jesse Lederman announces run for mayor
Said he wants Springfield to again be "on the cutting edge of innovation and progress."
The president of the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts is running for mayor.
Jesse Lederman announced his candidacy Tuesday morning -- first in a campaign video, and then in person with about two dozen supporters gathered in Thompson Triangle in the city’s McKnight neighborhood where Lederman grew up and still lives.
Lederman joins an expected field of candidates that includes five-term incumbent Mayor Domenic Sarno and City Councilor Justin Hurst. State Representative Orlando Ramos is weighing a run for mayor this year and said last week he would soon make a decision.
WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill interviewed Lederman after his announcement Tuesday.
Why run for mayor now?
We have a unique opportunity to write Springfield’s next chapter. If we look at the work that I have prioritized to building coalitions on the Springfield City Council for the last three terms, I'm confident that residents will see we can do more in the mayor's office. And I believe that right now, the city of Springfield is really on the cusp of being able to utilize our full potential. But we need to change the way that we do some things in local government, we need to open up the doors to City Hall, involve more people in our work, and make sure that we really are going to be on the cutting edge of innovation and progress. That is the history of the city of Springfield. And I believe that it's time we lived up to that.
What is motivating you, though, why do you want to be mayor?
Because I want to do more for the city of Springfield. I ran for the City Council for the first time, because I believe that local government can really make a difference in the lives of our residents. And every single day, I've kept that commitment, we have pushed forward, every single initiative that I promised the people of Springfield, I would and as we continue to build those coalitions across the city, I hear from people everyday that they want to see Springfield go further. And I believe that we can bring a unique perspective, a fresh perspective to the corner office to do that.
What are your priorities?
My priorities will continue to be the priorities that I've always run on the priority of ensuring we have housing that will meet the need of our entire community prioritizing that we are looking at how do we keep utilities affordable? How do we expand Internet access in the city of Springfield, looking at how we involve more people in the work of local government, and looking also now in this new role as how we can build an education system that works for all of our students and that values. Our educators, you know, today is about announcing that vision to the people of Springfield, but it's not just something that we talk about. These are issues that we have worked on as a city councilor, as City Council President, and I look forward in the months ahead to being able to roll out our policy priorities in a continued way that shows people we really are bringing a new option to the table for them.
I know you've pushed a lot of initiatives. You've you've announced a lot of priorities, filed a lot of legislation. In the last (special) election that we had for City Council in Ward Five, the candidates there said the number one thing they heard as they were knocking on doors were quality- of- life issues in the neighborhoods -- things like cars speeding up and down the street. How as Mayor, do you address some of those really basic quality of life concerns?
I think that our neighborhood quality of life issues are really the most important thing in this race, people's day to day experience in the city of Springfield. And I believe that in order to address some of those, we need both some simple things, things that we have brought to the table and pushed the administration to do over the course of the last three terms that we have not seen accomplished simple things like really pushing for an anti litter initiative really pushing for funds to support in assisting individuals low income homeowners and seniors with fixing up their properties. These things that have to happen to keep our neighborhoods thriving. I believe a lot more leadership can come from the mayor's office in this regards, and I will bring that leadership to the mayor's office. But I also believe, Paul, that the work that we have done on big picture legislation plays a role in that as well. If we are expanding the opportunities that exist in the city of Springfield you'll see quality of life improved too.