Jean Kessner

WAER file

As the year ends, so do the Common Council terms of several well-known faces.  Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner ends an eight-year run.  She hopes she’s remembered more for helping people than for any specific bills or laws she helped pass.

“When you go to ban-the-box or section-8 housing (measures), or any of the other things that we’ve passed, is that we just want to give people opportunity.  We don’t have money to hand out, but we can provide a level playing field.  That’s really, really important to me.” 

Scott Willis / WAER News

After six months of deliberating, Syracuse Common Councilors Monday passed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from turning away tenants who receive federal assistance.  Long-time advocate for those with disabilities Agnes McCray says the measure is a good first step for residents with any disability to get equal access to affordable housing. 

Ban-the-Box Laws Gaining Steam in Syracuse

Jan 25, 2016
Chris Bolt/WAER News

Advocates for helping people with criminal records get jobs say the issue is connected with Syracuse’s high poverty rate. There’s been recent attention on the Ban-the-Box laws in Syracuse and other cities. The laws make it illegal to have a check-off box for criminal history on employment applications, so people with a criminal record don’t immediately get rejected. Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner is an advocate of removing that potential barrier.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Pam Hunter Thursday clinched the Democratic line on the November ballot for the 128th Assembly District seat.  About 1,800 voters chose Hunter, the party's designee, over fellow Councilor-at-large Jean Kessner, who earned about 1,000 votes; former Onondaga County Legislator David Stott was a distant third with just over 600 votes.  But Stott will still be on the ballot for the general election on the Conservative Party line.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Democrats in the 128th Assembly District will head to the polls Thursday for the only state-wide race on the local ballot.  It's a primary to determine who should fill the seat left vacant when former Assemblymember Sam Roberts accepted an appointment to the Cuomo administration.  What follows is a profile of each of the three candidates hoping to convince fellow democrats they're the one best suited for the general election in November.