We need Juanita

by Linda Brown-Robinson

I am part of a team of people who have joined together to take the unusual move of forming a campaign committee to encourage one of our neighbors to run for Mayor of Syracuse in 2017. We all deserve a leader who brings honor, integrity, discipline and life experience to the office. I’m inviting you to join us in encouraging Juanita Perez Williams to run for Mayor in 2017. For those of you who don’t know her let me provide you with an introduction to our friend Juanita.

Juanita Perez Williams was raised in southern California, the daughter of Ralph and Lydia Perez. Juanita’s family immigrated to America from Mexico in search of the American dream. Like so many of our family stories, Juanita’s family arrived with can-do spirit, a desire to work hard and a willingness to serve. Juanita was a product of Head Start and was a first generation college student. One of her core beliefs is that all the children of Syracuse deserve the same shot at success that she had.

From an early age, Juanita had an insatiable desire to follow family footsteps into military service and get a great education. She received her undergraduate at the University of California San Diego and her Juris Doctor from the California Western School of Law. From law school, Juanita went on to serve our country with distinction in the United States Navy, ranking as Lt. Commander serving as JAG counsel.

We are lucky that Juanita found home in Central New York after fulfilling her military obligation to raise her four lovely children while pursuing an astonishing career. Juanita worked as Regional Director of the New York State Education Department, Associate Dean of Students at Syracuse University and Assistant Attorney General for New York State. Many of us first became acquainted with Juanita as Corporation General Counsel for the city of Syracuse—the first Latina to hold that position. As the current regional director for the NYS Department of Labor, Juanita has hands on experience bringing workers, managers and business leaders together to create better opportunities for all.

You may ask: Why do we need Juanita? There are two undeniable facts about the city of Syracuse today. The first is tough to admit, but we know it’s true. Many of our neighbors in Syracuse are living in poverty. The other undeniable fact about Syracuse is that, for all our current issues and concerns, we are resilient and we remain optimistic. Syracuse needs a leader as good as its people, someone who will inspire us to get behind her.

Who better to tackle poverty than someone who comes from humble beginnings? We need Juanita not only because she can support and promote our economy, but also to speak to the souls of Syracuse children and tell them they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Who can better understand the demands and rewards of the sandwich generation better than Juanita who is sharing her home with three generations of family?

As a mom and grandmother, Juanita understands our children are our most valuable asset, and if she runs, we trust she will make quality of life for our children a top priority. Moreover, she knows that we must attract and retain talented young people who have a place and purpose here….like us.

If you know me, you know that I call them like I see them. At the end of the day, I firmly believe we need Juanita because we cannot afford otherwise. Selecting our next Mayor is an important choice. If we can convince Juanita to run, we know she would make positive changes for us, our children and their children.

Running for Mayor is a daunting ask, a sacrifice taken on by one’s entire family. Juanita would need to make a career sacrifice were she to announce her intentions to run. These aren’t easy decisions to make. That is why we have banded together and unequivocally encourage Juanita to run.

Please join the movement to encourage Juanita Perez Williams to run for Mayor of Syracuse, and visit our website at www.weneedjuanita.com


Linda Brown-Robinson

Founding member, “We Need Juanita” Committee