Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, who has helmed the City of Ithaca for almost eight years, has no intention of giving up his job anytime soon, announcing last week that he will run for his third term this November.
Earlier last month, Myrick teased voters about whether or not he would seek to extend his tenure beyond 2019, tweeting, “if I ran for reelection, would I have your support?”
But on March 6, the 31-year-old Democrat put any lingering doubts to rest with two words: “I’m running,” Myrick put simply in a Facebook post.
“I love this city and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made,” he later added. “I believe we can do even better, and continue to be a progressive community that is welcoming and inclusive.”
On Facebook, Myrick outlined his case for why he should once again be elected to City Hall, citing the construction of a waterfront trail along Cayuga Lake, the large-scale renovation of Ithaca Commons and doubling the amount of street paving among his accomplishments during his tenure.
“But we have so much more to do,” Myrick wrote. “The taxes are still too high … Rents are too high and the quality of housing is too low.”
Myrick’s annual State of the City address earlier this year hit on similar themes, when he vowed to finalize plans to construct 200 affordable housing units downtown. Among his successes, Myrick touted a decrease in property taxes and a policy that makes projects receiving tax reductions contingent upon constructing below-market-price units, the Ithaca Voice reported.
Myrick was first elected mayor in 2011, besting the Republican and two Independent candidates by a 29 percent margin on the way to winning every precinct. In doing so, Myrick set a slew of firsts for Ithaca: Only 24 years old at his inauguration, Myrick became both Ithaca’s youngest and first African-American chief executive. Four years later, Myrick ran without opposition.
Perhaps owing to his “youthful energy” and “charismatic personality,” a Politico article wrote, Myrick has gained national attention typically reserved for much more prominent office-holders. For instance, Ithaca’s controversial plan to create the nation’s first heroin-injection site garnered the mayor a spot on The New York Times’s front page. He has also been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and Rolling Stone’s “Hot List.”
The accolades have led to speculation that Myrick harbors ambitions beyond serving a town of just over 31,000. According to the Ithaca Times, he was at one point approached by Democratic National Convention officials to consider taking on Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Tompkins County’s Congressional representative, who was ultimately challenged by Cornell alumna Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 instead.
Despite the hype, Myrick maintains that his loyalties lie fully with Ithaca — at least for the next four years.
“I spent a lot of last year getting people elected to Congress, and God bless them, because it’s not for me,” Myrick told the Ithaca Times. “If I’m ready and the state’s ready for me, I would look at running for governor, but I’m not just interested in politics because I just want a job in politics. I don’t just want to be someone, I want to do something. That doesn’t mean just running for anything.”