Election Day 2023: Adam Bello re-elected as Monroe County Executive
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The polls have closed for Election Day 2023. Adam Bello has been re-elected as Monroe County Executive.
Jennifer Lewke spent election night with Adam Bello and the Democrats. Berkeley Brean was with Mark Assini and the Republicans.
Both Jennifer and Berkeley chose three issues to focus on: migrants, taxes, and crime and public safety.
Assini is Republican, the former Gates supervisor, and the challenger in this race. He sat down in a one-on-one interview with News10NBC’s Brett Davidson and explained he would lead the effort to repeal bail reform and criminal justice reform laws. He blames these laws for the increase in shootings, car thefts, and the uneasy feeling some people have.
“Some of our law enforcement people have talked about it, but there’s been no cohesive effort to repeal these laws. I will lead that effort to repeal these laws,” Assini said.
Prior to Adam Bello winning four years ago and one other Democrat winning in the ’90s, a Republican has run the county every since 1936.
Adam Bello isn’t pushing to repeal bail reform, but he does want some changes. He tells News10NBC that he’s seen the numbers and the crime surge in our region and that he’s tried to address it.
Bello says he’s working closely with Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter to hire more deputies and to step up targeted enforcements. His administration, he says, has provided more resources to the teen detention center — trying to connect young people who are arrested with services they might need to pull themselves out of an early life of crime.
But he admits, more could be done. While he stops short of saying bail reform should be thrown out, he does say it needs to change. He would like to see, what’s known as a “dangerousness standard.”
“That would give judges the ability to look at people who are charged with a crime, and instead of the conversation around bail, be able to look at someone and say, ‘Is this person a danger to the community? If they were to be let back out, what are the chances they would recommit? What’s the chances they would harm somebody else and be able to use that as the standard to hold them?'”
So far, talk of adding a dangerousness standard hasn’t gotten very far in Albany. But Bello says it’s something he’ll continue to push for, if voters here at the polls chose him for a second term.
For many voters here at the polls, who they vote for, comes down to how that person might be able to impact their own lives. News10NBC spoke with both candidate son everyone’s favorite topic, taxes.
Bello has been trying to make sure voters know that over the course of his first term, he’s cut the tax rate and the tax levy increases, have shrunk.
“At the end of the day, what’s going to drive down taxes is economic growth and economic activity. At the end of the day that’s what is going to drive this down. That’s why we’re in a position next year for the levy to be flat,” said Bello. “I’m going to introduce a budget. The levy is going to be flat. I’ve made that commitment. So what that’s going to do to help people is the pie is going to remain the same, right, because we’re not going to frown the number but because we have had economic growth. They’ll be more people paying from that pie. It’s going to shrink what the average payment is for existing homeowners.”
Assini has to balance budgets and set tax rates as the Gates town supervisor for eight years.
“So to answer your question, there is plenty of money in the budget to stabilize taxes, to squeeze it down, without affecting a single service — still providing you services that you need and that you must have in this community, and still save tens of millions of dollars,” said Assini.
Berkeley spoke to the County Executive’s office earlier Tuesday. They said they’ve lowered the tax rate, but still used money to increase pay for county employees and add incentives to keep people in their county jobs.
And they said Assini had a reserve fund when he was running Gates.
Now, what about the migrants in Rochester?
As Mark Assini campaigned Monday night, migrant families were inside the Holiday Inn on State Street downtown. They came here from New York City where they arrived after crossing the southern border.
New York City and New York State are paying for their care.
Assini is critical of the county executive for not stopping the migrants from coming here, and critical that the county called in the National Guard early on as a sign that the situation was tenuous.
“We are now facing our own crisis here where we can’t feed our own people. We have people going to bed homeless, hungry and afraid. And we are prioritizing people from another country who came here illegally, who used the asylum loop hole to stay and we’re giving them benefits and help our own people don’t get. That’s wrong,” said Assini.
So, what does incumbent County Executive Adam Bello have to say about how he’s handled the migrant situation locally?
Well, he thinks he’s done just fine addressing the issue. In fact, he says other counties across the state have modeled their migrant responses after what he did here in Monroe County.
“Monroe County taxpayers are not paying for those services. So we needed to know whose paying for that and who the responsible party is and then it also gave the county the ability to revisit those contracts and those responsibilities to make sure that it’s happening. So we put that in place. As a result, we don’t see the problems that other counties have seen, because we stepped up. We dealt with what the problem that had arrived on our doorstep is and that’s what leaders do,” said Bello.
News10NBC is continuing to follow the race for Monroe County Executive and will provide updates as they become available.