Election day could bring youth to Syracuse Common Council

Nov 1, 2013

A new generation of politicians in the city of Syracuse are following in their families' footsteps and running for office.

Barring an election day surprise, Syracuse's next common councilor from the 2nd district will be under 30. These candidates say their youth will benefit the city.

Democratic nominee and funeral director Chad Ryan is 28 years old and the son of former Onondaga County Legislator Ed Ryan.

The younger Ryan said the best way to improve the city is to get more residents involved, like by attending neighborhood meetings.

"Young people moving in and wanting to make the neighborhood better then you got ten people on a street keeping an eye out instead of one, because when you're by yourself trying to keep an eye on everything it may be disheartening, it may be too much," Ryan said.

Ryan is running against 25-year-old Republican Alex Walsh who is distantly related to former congressman Jim Walsh.

Alex Walsh has been state Sen. John DeFrancisco's assistant for almost three years and said he is concerned about the city facing bankruptcy.

"We need to start consolidating services either with the county or the private sector looking at ways to cut costs within the city government to save the taxpayers money."

Joe Carni is 23 years old and the son of State Supreme Court Justice Edward Carni. He graduated from college last year and is now the Republican nominee running for Syracuse City Council's 1st District.

Carni said his young age is a positive because the city needs elected leaders who have time and energy.

"When I go knock on someone's door and talk to them, they're concerned that they're going to get burglarized or their car is going to get broken into, every single night," Carni said. "That's a genuine concern that's on their mind before they go to sleep and I don't think that's right and I think we need to do something about that."

Carni is running against 62-year-old Democrat incumbent Jake Barrett.

In 2011, Barrett won the seat by just 13 votes against Republican Matt Rayo who was 25 at the time.

Barrett said his lifetime of experience in civic volunteer work and the private sector allows him to help more people.

"Until you have some idea of how the wheels and gears of a city work, so you can concentrate that knowledge in certain areas and get some timing together, that's what you learn with experience in office," Barrett said.

Whether Barrett wins or not, the second district race makes it likely there will be less experience and more youth on the Common Council after November's election.