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Former Mayor Lovely Warren dips a toe back into politics

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Lovely Warren has returned to Rochester politics less than a year after stepping down as mayor.

On Thursday, Warren was tapped to serve as the leader of the Democratic Committee for Monroe County’s 22nd Legislative District. The position was formerly held by former County Legislator Glenn Gamble, who will now serve as treasurer of the committee.

In a Facebook post, Warren expressed joy in serving in the district formerly represented by her mentor, the late David Gantt.

Gantt served as the 22nd District legislator from 1973 to 1982, before representing the 137th state Assembly District until his death in 2020. His seat is now represented by Demond Meeks, a Democrat who is being challenged by Republican Marcus Williams this year.

Warren invoked the Old Testament in commenting on her return to politics.

“Many members said, ‘Where have you been, we’ve been looking for you,’” the post reads. “I just smiled and replied, regrouping and rebuilding like King David.”



A message sent to Warren was not immediately returned.

The 22nd Legislative District, which represents a portion of the city’s northeast, is currently represented by county Legislator Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons. The district has historically been one of the worst-performing in the county when it comes to voter turnout.

In the 2021 general election, 1,132 of the district’s 11,417 registered voters, or 9.9 percent, showed up at the ballots. Only the 28th District, which borders the 22nd to the west, performed worse, with a 9.7 percent turnout.

Warren lost the 2021 primary election to Malik Evans, but she stepped down on Dec. 1 – a month early – as part of a plea agreement in her felony campaign finance case.

Warren and two of her political associates had been charged with two felony counts apiece: illegal coordination between political committees for the purpose of evading donor limits and participating in a scheme to defraud in the first degree.

The agreement resolved those charges, as well as gun and child endangerment charges from an unrelated case.

Since then, Warren had been mostly quiet, until appearing Wednesday at a County Legislature meeting to rally in support of a redistricting plan championed by Democratic Legislators Sabrina LaMar and Rachel Barnhart.

Vazquez-Simmons, who opposes the redistricting proposal, expressed frustration with how Warren was tapped to fill the role in the Democratic committee. She claimed normal policies and procedures weren’t followed.

In a statement provided to CITY, she urged voters to cast their ballots against Warren should she try for another elected position.

Warren has, thus far, not publicly announced any plans to run for office.

“This is one election where the voters don’t have a say," Vazquez-Simmons said of Warren’s new committee position. “But any future aspirations she may have for public office will be decided by the voters. I encourage individuals to register and make certain their voice and vote are heard.”

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.

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