Mark Bransford plans to file for Rochester City Council’s Ward 2 seat the day the filing period opens next week.
“The world has changed and our city council needs to change with it,” the Folwell neighborhood resident said in his written announcement Monday. “We no longer have the luxury of giving our council members huge raises, paying millions for national consultants and being intolerant of different views.
“We need someone who will actually listen to people -- bring them together -- to best represent the needs of the people in Ward 2.”
Bransford is seeking the seat held by Micheal Wojcik since 2009. Wojcik has not yet stated whether he plans to file for re-election.
A Seattle native who’s lived in Rochester for 19 years, Bransford said running for city council was a last-minute decision stemming from recent council actions, including the elected officials’ pay raises approved earlier this year and the fact that they weren’t scaled back in response to revenue pressures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he plans to donate any pay above the $21,712 salary for 2019 to help fund a city service aimed at public safety. That would provide a $17,708 contribution based on current council salaries.
Bransford also cites development as a key challenge for the southwest Rochester ward.
In 2016, Bransford joined neighbors in lobbying against early plans for the Berkman Apartments on Second Street Southwest between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue.
The activity led Bransford to file a 2107 ethics complaint against Wojcik, which was eventually dismissed by the city's Ethical Practices Board.
While he said the engagement gave him a greater understanding of city operations, Bransford said he’s long been interested in local government.
“I grew up having an interest in serving people,” he said, pointing to his father, who served in the Navy and Air Force, and his mother, who was a nurse.
“My parents instilled in me honor, compassion, independence, drive, creativity, and a desire to constantly challenge and better myself,” Bransford said, adding the skills are needed amid current economic challenges.
“I offer Ward 2 and the city of Rochester a fresh approach and a new perspective. I ask for your support,” he added. “After 12 years, it is time for a change.”