On the Record with Councilmember Adam McFadden


Veteran city councilmember Adam McFadden continues to be a voice for the voiceless, as the newly appointed chair of the finance and budget committee, and as vice president.

He admits, his recent run to capture a seat vacated after New York 25 District’s Representative Louise Slaughter passed away, was something he didn’t thought about, until a local radio station—WDKX, released a poll gathered from constituents, who were asked: Who should fill the seat?

“After the tally, I led overwhelmingly,” McFadden said.

He wanted to bring a different mindset to serving.

“When you talk to people who run for office,” he continues. “They talk about issues like education, crime, and healthcare, which are ‘just’ talking points.”

“You don’t find many elected officials working on those issues. They’re ‘just’ talking about them,” he insists. “For me, it was about: [How do we give people a platform to bring their concerns about what should be happening---to the congressional chambers in Washington, D.C.?] It wasn’t ‘just’ talk, when it came to these hot button issues. It was about opening-up the process, so people can have a real-voice in decisions being made hundreds of miles away. The way I’ve conducted myself throughout my elected life, and all the stuff I’ve written and done, originated out of requests and suggestions of the constituents. It was ‘people’ speaking to me about what should happen,” McFadden adds.

The short calendar to the date of the special election and the short amount of time to raise adequate money to win the seat wasn’t the only factors that played a part in his loss. And suggest, voters living on the outskirts of the city being more open to meeting politicians of a different race and listening to [Us] and not ‘just’ reading headlines, would enrich the debate and allow all candidates an equal opportunity to earn their votes.

“The more folks I met,” McFadden said. “And those who’ve seen me in a debate, the more shock they were about the type of person I was. I believe some people thought, I was ‘just’ someone swinging with a big stick breaking stuff. I had someone say to me, they didn’t know I went to college. And if was white, I would’ve won,” he said.

My dream was to be in politics.

However, when he first enrolled at Claflin University, a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in South Carolina---political science was his major. Until, he took a class and found the discipline not to be difficult enough, so he changed his major to accounting, and political science became his minor.

As chair of the city’s finance and budget committee, McFadden’s acumen in accounting was tested early, when a school board commissioner alerted councilmembers to ‘not’ pass its budget, because the city school district is headed towards bankruptcy.

“Therefore, we had to look at it critically,” McFadden said. “However, we were up against a deadline that basically mandated, [we had two days to act on the budget.] If we didn’t act, it automatically passes. Nonetheless, what the people don’t know, whether we vote yes or no, we still have to give them the money, which makes no-sense. So, we need a change to the Charter,” he implies.

In terms of improving deprived urban communities, it’s not the politics and public servants can only do so much.

“Just like you started your own newspaper, we have to teach our folks we have to start our own stuff and support our own stuff, because that’s what drives a community,” McFadden continues. “The reason why we’re-in this condition is because, we don’t own much. If we keep pretending, the care and support is going to come from outside our community, we’re going to keep getting, what we’re getting. They can have lengthy discussions about poverty and continue to launch poverty initiatives, but it’s not what this is all about. It’s what we own and control.”

In response to the latter statement, Southwest Tribune proposed a question asking: Does having Lovely Warren as Mayor, a majority vote on city council and control of the local democratic party, accelerates the city’s and its resident’s arrival to a healthy, vibrant and united Rochester?

“We’re in a different place than we’ve ever been,” McFadden said. “And now, we have to lead from the front and not the back. It’s time to be bold and change the makeup and dynamic at the table, because the faces have changed, the table dynamic hasn’t.”

“And now that we control a lot of it, we got to pay for it,” he emphasizes. “If we ask other people to pay for what we’re trying to do, then we don’t really control it, the financiers do. And that’s the part, we have to realize. We’ve Brittaney Wells serving as executive director of the party, so we’ve to invest into the party. If you want to control it, you got to put money-up. We got to be the first people in-line. I don’t care, if you only have ten dollars. If that’s all you got, you got to give it up,” McFadden acknowledges. “We’re in a position to have a different mindset, instead of just give us.”
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