PHOTO BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN
Former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard announced his bid for County Legislature today.
Former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard is running for the Monroe County Legislature. Sheppard will make it official at a press conference later today (see update below) at the Workers United Union Hall on East Avenue. He is running as a Democrat for the 23rd District seat in the Legislature — the east-side side seat is currently held by Democrat Paul Haney, who is termed-out this year.
"Our county is facing some of the most difficult challenges it has in a decade," Sheppard said in a press release. "One need look no further than the county budget passed in December and the drastic cuts in child care to realize that we are in trouble."
The district includes Park Avenue, Monroe Avenue, Cobbs Hill, the South Winton Road area, Browncroft, and North Winton Village. It also includes part of Brighton.
All 29 seats in the Legislature are up this year. Republicans currently have a 19-10 majority.
Sheppard was with the Rochester Police Department for more than 30 years. He became chief in 2010, but retired in 2013
after the election of Lovely Warren to the mayor's office.
UPDATE, 3 p.m., Wednesday, January 21:
James Sheppard announced his candidacy for County Legislature earlier this afternoon, surrounded by family and a bunch of familiar faces, including former Rochester mayor Tom Richards.
Sheppard said that he was approached about running, but initially dismissed the idea. He reconsidered, he said, when he realized it would be another chance to serve.
"I had to answer the call," he said.
Sheppard said that he grew up in poverty, so he knows the devastating impact that the county's cuts in day care funding will have. The nickles and dimes being saved now are nothing, he said, compared to the costs down the road of remediation programs and incarceration.
He said that he knows that other Democrats are considering running for the same seat, and that he's ready for a fight if they do. He also said that he expects the support of Mayor Lovely Warren.