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Mayor Svante Myrick

ITHACA, NY -- Mayor Svante Myrick has resigned from his position. He has accepted a position as executive director for People for the American Way and will begin in February. The Feb. 2 Common Council meeting will be his last, and Alderperson Laura Lewis will take over as acting mayor. Alderperson Ducson Nguyen will be the alternate acting mayor. Voters will choose a new mayor in the November election. 

Myrick, the city's longest serving mayor, was emotional and called the role an honor of a lifetime, but wanted to continue his work at a national level.

"The American democratic experiment is the reason that someone like me — born into homelessness, and raised by a single mother — was able to come to Cornell in the first place," he said. "The American dream is also what allowed me to grow up and serve the city I love. But I am alarmed at the state of our democracy. I believe my service can make a difference in the national conversation on voting and elections, and I want to protect that American dream for people of all backgrounds."

According to People for the American Way's website, the organization is a "progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity."

Myrick said he was proud of what he accomplished in his decade as mayor, specifically citing improving the city's finances, improving infrastructure and the push for more affordable housing in the city. He added that he will continue to live in Ithaca.

The announcement came at the start of the first Common Council meeting of the year, just after finishing swearing in the newest alderpersons. While he has one council meeting left, council members took the opportunity to thank him for his service and congratulate him on the opportunity. 

While acting mayor, Lewis will retain her vote on council as a representative of the fifth ward. In normal circumstances, the mayor only votes if a tiebreaker is needed, but city attorney Ari Lavine confirmed she would still have normal voting power with the acting mayor title.

Lewis was elected to council in 2017.

Myrick's full statement is available to view on his Facebook page.

(2) comments

I'm not surprised. He was one of the main reasons I moved to this area! Holy smokes have times changed. I had hoped this area would provide an enlightened and progressive and interesting enhancement to my life from the rightest nonsense, authoritarianism, and horrors that result. Not at all, to put it mildly. Kuddos to you mayor in your new position, and please keep up the fight and good work.

Our democracy is very much in jeopardy, and should be of major concern to every thinking person out there.

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