(Rochester, NY) Today, Senator Jeremy Cooney (Rochester-SD56) asked Mayor Lovely Warren about the challenges facing the city of Rochester in his role as chairman of the Senate’s Cities 2 committee, overseeing legislative affairs of all upstate NY cities. The discussion covered a range of issues including over-policing, gun violence, and improving the Rochetser city schools.
“I am frustrated and our community is frustrated with our policing and the state of our public schools,” said Senator Cooney, “We need representation of black and brown communities in the Rochester Police Department and we need to modernize our schools so that our children can fully take advantage of learning opportunities as we reopen our schools.”
Senator Cooney, who served as Mayor Warren’s chief of staff from 2014–2016, questioned the mayor on what needs to be done to address tensions between the police and the community as well as how to change our current system of justice at a local level.
“We are not currently holding the police accountable,” Senator Cooney said. “It is clear that our city is not set up to act quickly and provide justice to the victims of police violence. This must change so we can rebuild trust in our justice system across our city.”
Senator Cooney pressed Mayor Warren on the rise in gun violence in Rochester since the end of 2020 including the most recent tragedy.
“There was a quadruple shooting last week on Lyell Avenue, part of our community that has been overlooked for too long,” Senator Cooney said. “We must invest in our communities in a proactive way to address this persistent issue of gun violence. We cannot assume it will simply go away.”
The impact of the pandemic on communities of color and the gap in access to technology and in-person education was a central part of the hearing.
“While I am optimistic for our city, we have a long way to go,” said Senator Cooney. “This pandemic has shown that increased access to broadband is a high priority for our families and that our public schools were underprepared for remote learning and reopening.”
Senator Cooney expressed concern that RCSD students did not have hot meals available during the launching of hybrid learning.
Senator Cooney closed by saying that he looks forward to collaborating with Mayor Warren in the future.