Teri Rennia is a small business owner, homeowner and mother, and come Nov. 5, she may be Binghamton’s next mayor.
Rennia, the Democratic candidate, was born in Binghamton, and has lived in several communities in New York state and northern California before moving back to Binghamton with her husband, according to her campaign website. She served on the City Council for more than seven years.
She said that she moved to Binghamton because of the architecture, community and public school system.
Rennia, along with her husband, is the owner of three small businesses in Downtown Binghamton and has employed dozens in high-tech jobs over the past 15 years. Though she says that she loves Binghamton, she is quick to admit that there are many improvements that must be made.
“We need to have a city with safe, clean, neighborhoods while at the same time keeping taxes at a reasonable level and creating jobs,” she wrote in an email. “As I have met with residents of the city people are mostly concerned with four main topics: economy/jobs, taxes, public safety, and infrastructure.”
Rennia wants the city to maintain strong police, fire and emergency services divisions. However, she does not believe that adding police officers will help Binghamton become a better city.
She says that if crime is to be properly handled, it must be fought at the source.
“We need to address the societal and institutional causes of crime if we are to achieve long term and sustainable reductions in crime,” Rennia wrote. “Simply adding police officers without a plan to pay for them or address the way that we police will not produce the changes that we need.”
In addition to addressing crime, Rennia said she would like to see Binghamton’s infrastructure receive an upgrade.
“We have a number of infrastructure challenges. Among the most obvious are our roads. We must no longer address our infrastructure with short term piece by piece measures. We must also focus on flood mitigation and of course the joint sewage treatment plant,” she wrote.
She said that the election is not only important to residents of the city of Binghamton, but also to Binghamton University students because of the large role they play in the community.
“Through organizations such as VINES and the West Side Neighborhood Project I have personally seen the value of students in our community and want to encourage students to further get involved in the community,” Rennia wrote.
Ultimately, Rennia would like to see Binghamton become a city where students will want to live when they have finished college.
“I will seek out ways to ensure that we are always seeking opportunities for students to become part of our community,” she wrote, “a community that I hope many will choose to call home after graduation.”
Rennia said that her history of owning a small business has made her acutely aware of the city’s needs.
“As a small business owner I have first-hand experienced the difficulties facing businesses in Binghamton and will work hard to encourage development and create jobs,” she wrote.
She stressed that Binghamton needs to keep a close eye on its finances.
“City hall needs to control costs and keep taxes stable by ensuring that city government works effectively and efficiently,” Rennia wrote.