BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A campaign ad popping up on signs around the Queen City asks residents: "Who is Sergio?"
The Dominican-born, South Buffalo man says he's a product of the American dream and now Sergio Rodriguez is looking to enter politics. His white signs asking "Who is Sergio?" have been planted throughout the city, and on Wednesday, he announced his campaign in front of City Hall.
"I am running for mayor of the City of Buffalo," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says he is running on a platform of "change," including reforming employment opportunities, cracking down on crime, reducing poverty and improving education.
"There's no sense of urgency whatsoever in the current administration," Rodriguez said. "The mayor should be spearheading this issue; he should be at the forefront of this issue."
Rodriguez has served as Deputy Director of the Erie County Veterans Service Agency and is currently coordinator of the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs at Medaille College.
Come November, Rodriguez says he will occupy City Hall, and his administration will be more involved in the community.
Rodriguez said, "We need an administration that's more involved, so yes, a mayor can do a lot, but it starts with getting involved and showing leadership."
Rodriguez says he may seem like an "unlikely candidate." He's the first Republican to run for mayor since 2005, and Buffalo hasn't had a Republican mayor since the 1960s.
"People are progressive-minded and that tends to be what our party is," said Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner.
Zellner says Rodriguez has an uphill battle to fight, in Buffalo.
"Mayor Brown has a lot of resources at hand," Zellner said. "He's a two-term mayor and will be announcing, I assume, very soon his intention to run again."
Rodriguez - a Medaille College graduate with a Master's Degree in organizational leadership and former Marine who served the United States for five years - has already been well-received through grassroots efforts.
Supporter Jacob Dabb said, "With the shootings with the violence, education, it's moving at a slow pace. Maybe with a change of pace, maybe that would help out."
And Rodriguez says under his watch, better days for Buffalo are ahead.
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