President of the Legislature, Monroe County Legislature
Years in current role: 3
What was your biggest success in 2021?
My biggest success was being able to pass several pieces of legislation that greatly helped the community. Examples include securing funding for minority-run fine arts organizations harmed by the pandemic and nonprofits in desperate need of money; a law providing money to bereaved families for indigent burials; renaming the Greater Rochester International Airport after the great Frederick Douglass and commissioning a mural in the airport; passing Gantt’s Law, which guarantees a seat at the table for MWBEs when requests go out for county contracts; and a resolution directing the County Executive to take steps to implement some of the recommendations made by the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity.
What are your expectations for 2022?
I want to work bipartisanly to build on the expectations of the RASE Commission, which includes diversifying the county’s workforce. I also want to address issues such as fair housing, gun violence, and universal basic income.
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
My biggest takeaway is that no matter where you’re from or what your status is, this can affect everyone. While recognizing the struggles that the pandemic has caused, I’m proud of the work the community has done to come together to support each other.
What is your favorite thing about the Rochester community?
Rochester is unique! If you’ve ever walked the trails alongside the Erie Canal, you can see how beautiful of a waterway flows right through our area. The uniqueness and diversity of businesses shows that it is a great place to live. I also love how the community sticks together when times get tough.
If time were no issue, what would you do to help the community that you aren’t already doing?
I would address some of the social determinates such as income inequality, mental health/drug addiction, and social exclusion affecting the elderly. I also want access to safer neighborhoods and other health disparities.
This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.