BUFFALO, N.Y. -- City of Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder has officially announced he's running to become Buffalo's next mayor.
Schroeder, a native Western New Yorker who's been gearing up for this announcement for months now, spoke Sunday afternoon at The Historic Lodge Event Center on Cazenovia St. in Buffalo.
Hundreds of people gathered for the speech.
Schroeder's two big phrases were "we can do better," and "don't count me out."
He spoke about increasing attendance at public schools and creating more education opportunities. In a Q and A with media, Schroeder said he supports Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash's master plan for community schools, and that as comptroller, he's already helping Cash connect with banks.
"He needs partners to help underwrite these community schools so that children can walk to school, and then stay in school after school, and then perhaps have services not only for the child, but for the family," Schroeder said.
Schroeder said a priority of his is getting more women-owned and minority-owned businesses in Buffalo, and pushing for more development on the city's East side.
To Mayor Byron Brown's credit, his administration started the Queen City pop-up shops, which offer free retail space for local startups. Brown is also helping lead the redevelopment of the Northland Corridor, which is supposed to offer job training. The area is specifically encouraging women and minority-owned businesses to set up shop there.
"My understanding is it's not going to be operational until 2018. Really? Well 5,000 jobs have already been dispensed or will be dispensed for Solar City. Thousands of jobs have already gone to the Buffalo Niagara medical campus," Schroeder said.
He also spoke about the need for more police training.
"The police commissioner and the union president-- they can't even be in the same building together, let alone the same room. That's a problem. They both have responsibility for safety of their officers and safety for the community," Schroeder said. "When the PBA is begging for training for police officers, especially where there's the highest crime on the East side and on the lower West side...we have to give our police the proper training, and that will happen when I'm Mayor."
Schroeder said good policing also includes understanding mental health issues, a committee he chaired when he was in Albany.
Schroeder, a Democrat, served for seven years as an Assemblyman in Albany. He's been Buffalo's Comptroller for five years.
He now faces an uphill battle to be elected mayor. He'll have to overcome the name recognition Byron Brown has earned over the last twelve years, as Brown is running for his fourth term. Brown also has the current rebirth of the city going on now and the Buffalo Billion under his tenure.
In response to being the underdog, Schroeder says he goes to every neighborhood in Buffalo, and that it's the citizens who engage with him when he visits who ultimately vote.
Voters will decide the next mayor of Buffalo this November.
Sunday evening, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown released the following statement regarding his own candidacy in light of Schroeder's decision to run:
"Two weeks ago I announced my intention to seek a fourth term as Mayor of our great city. Over twelve years, working collaboratively with residents and leaders across every community in Buffalo, we have together achieved a new era of growth, investment and job creation that long eluded generations in our city.
We know more work needs to be done and I look forward to continuing the progress achieved with so many diverse and dedicated partners that share our vision of a strong, inclusive and vibrant Buffalo, while earning the continued support of the city's residents."