Svante L. Myrick was sworn into office in January 2012 and became, at 24, the youngest Mayor and first Mayor of color of the City of Ithaca, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College.
Svante was raised Earlville NY, population 800, by a single mother along with his three siblings. Through his mother and the people of his small town, he saw hard work modeled from a young age. Working multiple jobs, his mother’s tenacious spirit and commitment allowed her children the comfort and security necessary for them to succeed.
When Myrick was a baby, the family spent weeks in shelters. In better times, his mother would pick up groceries at the local food pantry and work double-shifts at low-paying jobs. Myrick and his three siblings pooled money from after-school jobs to buy clothes, feed themselves and help keep their house lights on in Earlville, an Erie Canal village that straddles Madison and Chenango counties. – “Svante Myrick: How a child of modest means became Ithaca’s youngest mayor-elect” – Syracuse Post Standard. November 20, 2011.
Mayor Myrick was first elected to the Common Council at the age of 20 while still a student at Cornell University. His first budget as Mayor included a radical overhaul of city government that merged departments, streamlined processes and was able to successfully close a $ 3 million deficit – all while delivering the lowest tax increase in the City of Ithaca since the year 2000.
His active advocacy in Albany and in Washington D.C. has resulted in over $20 million of grants and awards from the State and Federal government. His recent accomplishments include raising the pay of The lowest paid City Employees to a Living Wage, making sorely needed revisions to the City of Ithaca’s sidewalk policy, an overhaul of storm water utility legislation, successful total rehabilitation of the Commons, Ithaca’s downtown pedestrian mall, and making changes within the Ithaca Police Department in an effort to improve police and community relations. In 2014, he was awarded the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for public service.
Led by a young mayor with an inspiring back story and an idealist’s approach – he talks about sidewalks in philosophical terms – Ithaca is the upstate exception…. Soft-spoken and slyly funny, Mr. Myrick is a striking success story. – The New York Times. August 4, 2013.
In his spare time, Svante enjoys speaking to youth groups around the state about achievement, civic engagement and community building. He is also an avid reader and sports enthusiast who follows the Giants, Yankees and (with no small amount of exasperation) the New York Knicks.