ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s official: Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary is running for Congress in New York’s 25th District.

“I stand before you today to announce my candidacy to represent the 25th Congressional District of New York,” Singletary.

The former chief made the announcement official during a press conference Thursday at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester with the Monroe County Republican Committee.

“Today marks the start of an incredible journey, a journey that will bring hope to Rochester and Monroe County, collaborative leadership to Rochester and Monroe County, common sense, and common ground,” Singletary said. “We have a lot of ground to cover and make up.”

New York’s 25th Congressional District seat is currently held by Democrat Joe Morelle, who succeeded the district’s longtime Democratic representative Louise Slaughter following her death in 2018.

Singletary was fired by then-Mayor Lovely Warren in 2020, after details about Daniel Prude’s death following an encounter with Rochester police first became public. He went on to dispute claims made by Warren during that time, and filed a lawsuit against Warren and the city.

“I don’t believe in politics, but I do believe in public service,” Singletary said. “I don’t believe in politicians, but I believe in public servants. I’m not a career politician, but let me tell you what I am — I am a public servant who cares about you, the people. I’m a public servant that knows leadership, who cares about integrity. When I raise my right hand to swear, my mission is simple: To represent all the people in the 25th; not some, not a few but all.”

Singletary was applying for jobs in law enforcement as recently as June. Prior to becoming chief in 2019, Singletary had 20 years of experience with the Rochester Police Department.

“If you elect me to be your next congressman, every point of this district will have their voice and solutions represented,” Singletary said. “We need a representative in Washington that will lead to a strong economy, that will have our back and encourage people to end generational poverty. We have put an emphasis that if you work hard, there is no limit to where we can go.”

The former police chief said if elected he would focus on empowering police departments.

“People do not want to defund the police,” Singletary said. “In fact, people want to keep the police. We have seen murders rise. The number of shootings are going up, and the number of officers are going down. When people are defunded, neighborhoods are destabilized. Citizens have a fundamental right to be protected. Folks, this is common sense. It should not be a left or right issue, it should be an American issue.”

“Finding common ground is what I did as police chief and is what I will do as your congressman,” Singletary said. “Change requires resources, and it’s time to start standing with our children who are trying to get an education, but can’t because they face violence. Everyone deserves education. When parents have a choice, students have a choice and as your next congressman, I will work just as hard as I did as your police chief.”

Singletary was joined Thursday by local GOP leaders, on the heels of a successful election night Tuesday where Republicans secured several area town supervisor seats, and appear to have the inside track at maintaining the Monroe County Legislature majority, pending the results of absentee ballots.

“We [Republicans] had a great night the other night, but we always talk about the future,” said Monroe County Republican Committee Chair Bernie Iacovangelo. “The future comes one day at a time and this is a day where we can make sure we provide a great future for our community, for our country.”

“I want to thank all the Republican candidates that ran last Tuesday, who all did a great job of sending the message that these far left ideas aren’t working anywhere, including in local government,” said former Republican State Senator Joe Robach, who retired last year after more than a decade of public service.

According to Robach, Singletary, if elected, would become the first Black congressman to represent New York’s 25th district.

“It’s very exciting that a member of our community has decided to step up for his community,” Robach said of Singletary. “He has given much of his life in public service. He is someone that understands we need to have a quality police department that protects everyone and everywhere — the entire public; urban and suburban. There is no need to feel afraid to go anywhere in our community.”

“La’Ron Singletary is a man of the people, and what I noticed about this gentleman is that he looks at anyone, either four years old or grown adult public officials, he looks them in the eye with dignity and respect,” Robach said. “He knows this really is ‘we the people.’ It’s not about Cuomo, Biden, Pelosi, or anyone else. It is about people right here in Monroe County who need people to listen to them and take that message to Monroe County and Washington.”

A campaign website lists a November 4 official announcement date for Singletary’s Congressional bid as a Republican, the party that Iacovangelo says has a longstanding history in Rochester, who expressed a sentiment of inclusivity Thusday.

“Frederick Douglass called Republicans ‘the part of freedom and progress,'” Iacovangelo said. “The first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln. It was Republicans who gave slaves freedom. It really hit home for me when we talk about Rochester. We want to show that as we go on this 21st century that we represent that we are a community of all futures, all backgrounds, all nations, and all religious — and that’s what makes us special.”

“I think our candidate is going to be the first African-American to hold this seat in government,” Robach said. “He knows the people, he keeps his word. It’s not about say something in Washington and do something else in Rochester — it’s about the people.”

Rep. Morelle issued the following statement Thursday after Singletary’s announcement:

“There will be a time for politics, but that day is hardly today. I remain focused on providing the real solutions that hardworking families in our community deserve.

Right now, I am taking action to strengthen our economy and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, ensure the safety of our neighborhoods, protect access to affordable healthcare, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. I am committed to delivering results for Monroe County.”

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