Sixty-six people have held the office of Mayor of Rochester. The man whose car now occupies the parking spot behind City Hall says he wants to keep it.
"It's my decision that I am in fact going to do it."
Tom Richards thinks February's a bit early to be talking about the next election. At a news conference on a city housing initiative, the 69-year-old was asked the question, so he answered it.
"I've decided to say yeah, I am gonna run for mayor. I am gonna run for mayor," said Richards.
It was reported late last month that City Council president and fellow Democrat Lovely Warren was considering a run of her own. Richards was in Albany, testifying at a state legislature budget hearing. At the time, he hadn't made up his mind about another term.
"I don't have a political agenda. I never did. But I do have a city agenda and that agenda is what we need to pursue."
Richards says he doesn't want to lose the momentum gained in economic development projects like Midtown and others. He wants to see them through.
"I don't want us, as I've seen in other cities, to lose our focus here. To degenerate into who's gonna be elected to what and what's the story. I'm not interested in that."
Richards has been in city government since 2006, when he was named the city's top attorney. He also served as deputy mayor and for a few months, interim mayor. Richards won a special election against former mayor Bill Johnson in March of 2011.
"Every morning I wake up, people expect the trash to be picked up, the cop to come, the fireman to come, the street to be plowed."
The mayor says his top priority is keeping all those services and getting the city out of a projected $30 million budget deficit.
Richards says he won't begin to think about campaigning until closer to the election. There's still work, in this term, to be done.
"I'm invested in this place, and it's been good to me."