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Richards ends his campaign for Rochester mayor

Rochester Business Journal
September 17, 2013

Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards, defeated last week by Lovely Warren in the Democratic primary, will not run as a third-party candidate in the general election.

Richards, endorsed by the Independence Party and the Working Families Party in addition to the Monroe County Democratic Committee, said his decision was family related and not political.

“I am announcing today that I am ending my campaign for re-election,” Richards said in a statement released early Tuesday afternoon. “This is exclusively a personal decision driven by personal circumstances.

“My family has been dealing for some time with a difficult health challenge for one of our members that has recently evolved to the point where continuing my campaign is no longer appropriate.”

Richards, an attorney and former top executive at Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., came to City Hall in 2006 as corporation counsel to Mayor Robert Duffy. He became mayor in 2011 after Duffy was elected lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“My announcement today invites speculation about what might have happened before and after today,” Richards said in the statement. “I am not interested in that speculation, but in moving on from here.

“When I came to City Hall, at the request of Mayor Bob Duffy, the last thing I expected was to become mayor. But I looked at the job in the same spirit that I answered Mayor Duffy's call to join his administration. And that was to help and serve the city that I love.”

Richards will serve out the rest of his term, which expires Dec. 31.
   
“This is not a job that you finish,” he said. “It will forever be a work in progress. It is no less so today.

“There are many important and vital decisions to be made now and in the coming years. Keeping our city solvent and growing in a time when many cities are failing is chief among them.”

In a statement, Warren said: "I want to send my deepest appreciation to Mayor Richards for his words of support.  For the last three years, we have shared a passion for the serving this city which we both love and are proud to call home. While in the course of the primary election we may differed about paths and priorities, we have never differed about our feelings of mutual respect.  Along with people from across the City, my husband Tim and I send our prayers to the Richards family."

Warren, president of Rochester City Council, will run against Green Party candidate Alex White in the Nov. 5 general election.

“I want to thank Tom Richards for his years of service to the city of Rochester,” White said in a statement released following Richards’ announcement. “And I look forward to returning to the issues as I continue my campaign for mayor.”

Richards’s complete statement released by City Hall is as follows:

“I am announcing today that I am ending my campaign for reelection. This is exclusively a personal decision driven by personal circumstances. My family has been dealing for some time with a difficult health challenge for one of our members that has recently evolved to the point where continuing my campaign is no longer appropriate.

“My wife Betty and I have unique obligations to the affected branch of our family and that is where we need to devote our attention. I have always tried to weigh my family responsibilities with my civic responsibilities and the desire to continue Rochester's transformation. I am not sure that I have always made the correct decision, but I believe that I am doing so this time.

“I believe that my announcement today will, and should, mean that Lovely Warren will be elected our next mayor. I intend to work to make that occur successfully and I urge everyone to do so as well. After the election, my administration will work to assist in the transition. I believe that this is in the best interest of our city.

“I will be mayor until the end of the year and I intend to use that time to continue to address our city's transformation.

“My announcement today invites speculation about what might have happened before and after today. I am not interested in that speculation, but in moving on from here.

“When I came to City Hall, at the request of Mayor Bob Duffy, the last thing I expected was to become mayor. But I looked at the job in the same spirit that I answered Mayor Duffy's call to join his administration. And that was to help and serve the city that I love.

“This is not a job that you finish. It will forever be a work in progress. It is no less so today, there are many important and vital decisions to be made now and in the coming years. Keeping our city solvent and growing in a time when many cities are failing is chief among them.

“This city has been good to me. It has been good to my family. I tried to use my skills and experience to the benefit of all and to keep us moving in the right direction. I will let others decide what kind of job I did as mayor.

“I am deeply grateful to the people who have worked on and contributed to my campaigns, my senior staff and all of the hard-working city employees who have made whatever success we have had possible, and to the citizens of this great city for giving me the opportunity to be their mayor.

“I ask that following the general election, the city support and work hard to help our next mayor. Our city's future depends on it. Thank you.”

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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