Mayor-elect Malik Evans on the importance of local politics and community engagement in Rochester


Rochester has a new mayor in town, and he wants UR students to vote locally.

Almost mayor-elect and former UR Malik Evans ’02 spoke to the UR community about the importance of local politics last Thursday at a conference hosted by the Committee for Political Engagement.

While at college, Evans used to go around campus asking other students to change their voter zip code to 14627 so they could make an impact on a city’s local politics. in which they would spend four years.

“You are driving down the street and you have a pothole. Think you’re gonna call Barack Obama? The Secretary of Education? The transport secretary? […] Garbage is collected [locally]. Your local school decides whether or not it will need mask warrants. It’s local. Your local property taxes, the rules that govern whether or not clubs close at two o’clock or four o’clock. These are all local issues, ”Evans said. “That’s why you should care about what’s going on locally in politics and most people when they think of government, we think of every four years, right? “

After defeating two-time incumbent Lovely Warren in June and winning the Democratic primary, Evans is expected to run unopposed in the November general election and is seen as the alleged mayor of Rochester. Evans returned to UR, where he graduated in 2002, to discuss the importance of local politics with his former teacher and now friend Gerarld Gamm, Professor of political science, history and associate department director, and director of undergraduate studies.

Evans focused on the importance of public safety and expanding economic opportunity, sharing his plans for both during the discussion.

“[We] want to make sure [that] if you’re an African American male and you call the police for help, you won’t end up getting shot, ”Evans said. He added shortly after: “But on the other hand, [We]too [want to] make sure that if you are a student at [UR] and you cross the catwalk, so that you don’t get robbed. People want responsible public safety. They want consequences for bad actors when you have police officers who don’t think they have to follow the law and operate under a different set of rules, and they want the police to act as a government and not as a government. as law. “

In an effort to ensure public safety, Evans and his team also aim to tackle the problem of illegal guns in the city to combat gun violence.

Evans also stressed the need to pick up Rochester’s economy as we move away from the days of Kodak, Xerox and Bausch and Lomb. One of the promises of his campaign was to create an environment in Rochester where local businesses would thrive and contribute to the economic status of the community.

“How can we create the conditions to help increase homeownership [so that a mother who] wants to own a house can own this house? For an entrepreneur who wants to start this business [can do so] ? Because we know that if one in three small businesses in America creates at least one job, America could be at full employment, ”Evans said. “So how can you expect an entrepreneur who needs access to capital, who needs a strong business ecosystem within their community, and who needs the business acumen of a mentor to help him run this business? How do we create these conditions in order to grow businesses, which in turn will grow Rochester’s economy? “

Evans also discussed Innovation Square, a collaborative living space for student entrepreneurs who attend colleges like UR and RIT. The Gallina Development project transformed a former Xerox space to create an area that would serve as a startup incubator for students studying in the city. His team has also signed a contract with Harvard University Kennedy School of Government for students in their program to join the Evans transition team for the post of mayor in the coming months. An online executive program is also in the works that would connect business leaders and academics from across the United States to connect with organizations in Rochester to solve local problems and discuss innovative solutions.

A few years ago, a 14-year-old hockey player Evans met introduced him to the Wayne School of Hockey. The youngster told him that Wayne Gretzy, World Championship hockey player, is going where the puck is going to be, not where it is.

Our challenge for Rochester, for me as mayor, and for all of you who currently sit in Project Square is that we must continue. We need to determine where the puck is going to be locally [and how we can get there]. Will it be green technology? May be. I think so. I would think. Will it be information technology? Health Sciences? What is it gonna be? Data from big data? What’s going to help Rochester level up and put him on the map? Evans said.

“That’s what we want to do in the Evans administration – get people to think broadly and get where the puck is going to be. “

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