Mayor focuses on economy, homeless in State of the City address

"Doesn't know" whether he'll run for governor in future

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Mayor Richard Berry’s third to last State of the City address started with mentioning the boost Albuquerque’s gotten from recent victories by Holly Holm and the Lobos before quickly transitioning to the tragedy that has hit Albuquerque.

“Look there’s no question we’ve had a tough summer, a tough couple of months in the City of Albuquerque,” said Berry, referencing the deaths of Manzano High senior Jaydon Chavez-Silver, bartender Steven Gerecke, four year old Lilly Garcia and Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster.

But after a moment of silence, Berry went back to giving his optimistic perspective on Albuquerque. He touted accomplishments in making the city a hub for entrepreneurs and the push to revitalize downtown. He highlighted the new “There’s a Better Way” program, which pays panhandlers for a day’s work and claimed significant progress in the push to end veteran’s homelessness in the city before the end of the year.

Although there are no term limits for Albuquerque mayors, Berry reiterated that he will not seek re-election in two years.

“One of the reasons I term limited [myself] is because for the first time in the history of our city, we could have a transition between mayors where you don’t have to hand off [the job] to somebody that beat ya,” Berry said.

When asked if he’s considering a run to replace Governor Susana Martinez in 2018, Berry said he’s not even thinking about that yet.

“We don’t have any plans in place at this time and I think it’s a mistake sometimes when you spend too much time pre-planning, so the short answer is we just don’t know,” Berry said. “We’ll look at these opportunities when we’re done here but I want to spend the next two years making sure our next mayor can succeed.”

Berry also addressed questions about whether Albuquerque would accept Syrian refugees.

“We’re an open place, we welcome people with open arms in Albuquerque but we have to make sure the people that are coming here have been vetted,” Berry said.

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