Ben Walsh

Ben Walsh (born 1979) is an American politician serving as the 54th and current Mayor of Syracuse, New York. Walsh took office on January 1, 2018 as the first independent mayor in the city's history and the second without major party support after Louis Will in 1913.[1]

Ben Walsh
54th Mayor of Syracuse
Assumed office
January 1, 2018
Preceded byStephanie Miner
Personal details
Born1979 (age 41–42)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
Other political
RelationsWilliam F. Walsh (grandfather)
James T. Walsh (father)
EducationIthaca College (BA)
Syracuse University (MPA)

Early life and educationEdit

He is the son of former congressman James T. Walsh and grandson of former congressman and mayor William F. Walsh, both of whom were Republicans.[2]

Walsh grew up one of three children in the Strathmore neighborhood. His family moved outside the city when he was in middle school. He graduated from Westhill High School in 1997 and attended Ithaca College. After college, he spent a summer doing construction for Laborers Local 633, working on projects around Onondaga Lake. From there, he got an office job in Albany, as part of the political actions staff for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. He returned to Syracuse in 2002 to run his father's congressional campaign.[3]


Prior to being mayor of Syracuse, Walsh was the deputy commissioner of the city's department of neighborhood and business development under previous mayor Stephanie Miner where he created the Syracuse Land Bank and was part of the redevelopment of the Hotel Syracuse. He also worked for the Metropolitan Development Association, a precursor to CenterState CEO. He also served on several boards and community groups, including as president of the Gifford Foundation board.[4]

When he chose to run for mayor of Syracuse in 2017, Walsh did so on two minor party lines, the Independence Party of New York and Reform Party of New York State. In what was generally seen as an upset, Ben Walsh defeated Democratic Party frontrunner Juanita Perez Williams.[5] He won the election with 54% of the vote in what was a five candidate race involving candidates from both major parties as well as the Green and Working Families Parties.

Relocation of Christopher Columbus statueEdit

In 2020, Walsh announced plans to remove and relocate the statue of Christopher Columbus from Syracuse's Columbus Circle.[6] In addition, the circle will be renamed and an educational component will be added to the site outlining the impacts of colonialism. The statue has been the subject of controversy for years as community activists and many Native Americans argue it celebrates a man who was barbaric in his treatment of indigenous people and responsible for enslavement and genocide.[6]

Electoral historyEdit

2017 Syracuse mayoral general election[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independence Ben Walsh 12,351 48.38%
Reform/Upstate Jobs Ben Walsh 1,233 4.83%
Total Ben Walsh 13,584 53.21%
Democratic Juanita Perez Williams 9,701 38.00%
Green Howie Hawkins 1,017 4.02%
Republican Laura B. Lavine 673 2.64%
Working Families Joe Nicoletti 305 1.19%
Write-in 25 0.10%
Total votes 25,555 100%
Independence gain from Democratic


  1. ^ Michelle Breidenbach (November 8, 2017). "Ben Walsh is second Syracuse mayor in history to win without a major-party line". Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  2. ^ Baker, Chris (2017-12-28). "Ben Walsh: Born into political royalty, but took roundabout path to mayor's office". Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  3. ^ Chris Baker (October 11, 2017). "Ben Walsh walks tightrope, balancing Republican name while luring Democrats". Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  4. ^ Chris Baker (December 28, 2017). "Ben Walsh: Born into political royalty, but took roundabout path to mayor's office". Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  5. ^ Julie McMahon (November 8, 2018). "Ben Walsh elected Syracuse mayor". Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  6. ^ a b Baker, Chris. "Walsh to remove Syracuse's Columbus statue, rename downtown circle". Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  7. ^ "The Election Book: Onondaga County Board of Elections, 2017 General Election" (PDF). Onondaga County, New York. December 18, 2017. pp. 57–60. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Stephanie Miner
Mayor of Syracuse, NY
Succeeded by