Updated: January 28, 2021 05:48 PM
Created: January 28, 2021 03:46 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City Councilmember Malik Evans launched a campaign to challenge Mayor Lovely Warren as she seeks a third term in office.
In an interview with News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry, Evans says he believes his experience on the Rochester City Council, the Rochester City School Board, and at City Hall, along with the business community, have prepared him for the moment.
Evans: “But I also look back at just my life, the trajectory of my life that being one of a bridge builder and that is really the theme of this campaign, building bridges to this community."
Dewberry: “Do you believe those bridges are broken now?”
Evans: “I think we have big gulfs in our community. If you look at what has happened over the last nine months with the death of Daniel Prude, I think that has shown those gulfs.”
Dewberry: “During that period of such profound distrust, is that when you said, ‘I think I need to run?’”
Evans: “That's when I started to hear from a lot of people unsolicited.”
Dewberry: “Do you think that was because of a lack of trust of Mayor Lovely Warren?”
Evans: “Yeah, I don't know if it was related to a specific individual, or related to just the events that were happening in the country, as well as in our city.”
If he becomes Rochester’s next mayor, he will inherit a city still straining to steady itself following successive crises. Weeks of protests, the police command staff gone, a lawsuit filed by the family of Prude, the firing of the police chief, a school district's fiscal freefall, and a city fiscally flailing as well.
Dewberry: “Where do you start day one?”
Evans: “The triple beast is the coronavirus. The recovery, the jobs, businesses that are struggling, that's an issue. Then you have the trust and transparency in public safety is mission-critical and also making sure neighborhoods, people in neighborhoods feel connected to what your strategy is.”
Not all are happy to see Evans enter into the mayoral race, especially the mayor herself.
Warren released a statement saying, "We've prepared for this moment. All over the country, unfortunately, it's been our brothers that have been first in line to take on sisters."
Dewberry: “It sounds as though this is a direct attack on you. How do you respond to that ?”
Evans: “You know, the only thing I want to focus on in this race are the citizens of Rochester, and any other thing becomes a distraction, so this has to be a campaign about ideas."
Dewberry: “Just from the journalist who is listening to you, I would say Malik Evans is nothing if not magnanimous. However, in reading that statement, it certainly sounds personal. Did you hear that?”
Evans: “Well, you know, I’ve been in politics for a long time, and for me, I’m able to stay focused on the issues because when you deviate from that, you stop talking about the issues.”
Evans says he's a man undeterred, and at 40, this son of the city says he's ready to lead.
Evans: “I think people feel as though in times of crisis is when you can really see the measure of a leader. I think that people have seen me under pressure. They know that I remain focused on the issue.”
Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company