Monroe County Legislature Vice-President Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons and Legislator Rachel Barnhart were proud to vote for Yversha Roman for President, who was selected in a 16 to 13 vote.
“This is a historic evening in Monroe County history. We have a Latina President and Vice-President! I’m so proud to be part of this moment,” said Vice-President Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons.
“I would like to thank President Yversha Roman and Majority Leader Michael Yudelson for working through difficult issues over the past few weeks,” said Legislator Rachel Barnhart. “Throughout this process, I have maintained that reaching consensus among Democrats would lead to a stronger, healthier caucus that can deliver for the community.”
The vote caps off a three-week stalemate that revolved around housing and other issues. As part of the negotiations, Vice-President Vazquez-Simmons and Legislator Barnhart secured a commitment to create a task force to make concrete budgetary recommendations to the County Executive and the Legislature. The Rochester Alliance for Housing Accountability has long-requested such a task force, one that includes people with lived experience.
“What just happened is a major political win towards a just democracy – and housing justice. Both can be accomplished via political will and perseverance,” said City Councilmember Kim Smith. “Knowing Legislators Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons are involved assures us the work will get done. Congratulations, Democrats of our Monroe County Legislature!”
“Housing is a top priority for this term. We face enormous problems related to homelessness, evictions and a lack of affordable housing,” said Legislator Barnhart. “I know my colleagues share our concern and together we will achieve substantive legislation to assist our neighbors.”
Vice-President Vazquez-Simmons and Legislator Barnhart will continue to serve on the Ways and Means Committee. Vice-President Vazquez-Simmons will also serve on the Human Services Committee. Legislator Barnhart will also serve as the Chairperson of the Agenda Charter Committee. The Legislature is due for a Charter Review Commission, in which Legislator Barnhart will play a role.
“Thank you to all of our colleagues for their commitment to a true Democratic majority,” said Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons. “We worked through many issues to arrive at a place that sets us up for success for the next four years.”