This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Kevin Flowers on November 11, 2016.
Jay Breneman plans to embrace the role of City Hall outsider when it comes to the race for the Democratic nomination for Erie mayor in 2017.
"I've seen firsthand that the current status quo and the current ways of doing business
"I've seen the blatant disconnect between elected officials and the rest of our community," Breneman said. "People are incredibly concerned about the future of our city and of our community. Probably now more than ever. I've already demonstrated an approach to doing things differently, and I want people to know they will have a voice in the future of Erie."
Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott, first elected in 2005, cannot run again because of the city’s three-term limit. That means that city of Erie voters will elect a new mayor in 2017 for the first time in 12 years, and several Democrats are expected to seek their party’s nomination in the May 16 primary.
The May 16 Democratic primary winner will be a heavy favorite in the November 2017 election to succeed Sinnott and become Erie’s 48th mayor, in large part because of the city's more than 2-1 Democratic voter registration edge.
No Republican has been elected mayor of Erie since Charles Williamson in 1961. The mayor’s salary is $95,000 annually.
The Erie Times-News reported Oct. 9 that five Democrats, including Breneman, are exploring runs for mayor in 2017. The others are current Erie City Council President Bob E. Merski; former City Councilwoman Rubye Jenkins-Husband; Lisa Austin, an Edinboro University of Pennsylvania professor; and Adrian Ewing, a former City Council candidate.
At least three other Democrats are said to be considering a run: City Council members David Brennan and Curtis Jones Jr. and a former councilman, Joe Schember.
Breneman, 34, is the first mayoral candidate to make his campaign official. He works as director of outreach and governmental relations for a regional
Breneman's campaign office, at 401 State St., opens Friday. He has also launched a campaign website, www.jaybreneman.org.
In August Breneman embarked on what he calls a “listening tour," visiting homes, businesses, parks and other locations in Erie to talk with residents about their concerns.
He will not seek re-election to County Council in 2017.
"I think the place where I can most affect change is City Hall," Breneman said. "That's why I'm running for mayor."