Thomas Richards (mayor)

Last updated
Thomas S. Richards
68th Mayor of Rochester
In office
April 11, 2011 December 31, 2013
Preceded by Robert Duffy
Succeeded by Lovely Warren
Deputy Mayor of Rochester
In office
October 28, 2010 December 31, 2010
Personal details
Born (1943-07-08) July 8, 1943 (age 75)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Other political
Spouse(s)Betty Richards
ChildrenTheodore Richards, Matthew Richards
Alma mater Bucknell University
Cornell University
ProfessionLawyer, Business Executive

Thomas S. Richards (born July 8, 1943) is an American lawyer, business executive and politician who served as the 68th Mayor of Rochester, New York.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


Past career

From 1972 until 1991 Richards worked in the law firm Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody) where he specialized in civil litigation and served at various times as the managing partner and chairman of the management committee. In 1991 he joined Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. as general counsel. He later served as senior vice president for corporate services, senior vice president for finance and as president and chief operating officer. From 1998 until 2002 he was the chairman, president and chief executive officer of RGS Energy Group, the parent company of Rochester Gas & Electric. From 2006 to 2010 he was the corporation counsel of the City of Rochester. On October 28, 2010, he was appointed Deputy Mayor of the City of Rochester [1] [2] and inaugurated interim mayor on January 1, 2011. [3] [4] On January 18, 2011, Richards resigned to ensure he could run in a special election without violating terms of the Hatch Act, which could have jeopardized federal funding. [5] [6]

Nixon Peabody

Nixon Peabody LLP is a Global 100 law firm, with more than 700 attorneys collaborating across major practice areas in cities across the U.S., Europe and Asia. The firm's 16 office locations include: Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Albany, Buffalo, Long Island, Manchester, Rochester, and Providence. The firm ranks #67 on Vault's top 100 law firms and #75 on the American Lawyer 100.

Rochester, New York City in New York, United States

Rochester is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in western New York. With a population of 208,046 residents, Rochester is the seat of Monroe County and the third most populous city in New York state, after New York City and Buffalo. The metropolitan area has a population of just over 1 million people. It is about 73 miles (117 km) east of Buffalo and 87 miles (140 km) west of Syracuse.

Hatch Act of 1939 United States law

The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials, from engaging in some forms of political activity. It went into law on August 2, 1939. The law was named for Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. It was most recently amended in 2012.

2011 Special Election

On February 5, 2011, Richards was officially nominated by the Democratic committee of Rochester to be the party's candidate in the special mayoral election scheduled for March 29. Richards won the election with 48.48% of the vote to former Mayor Bill Johnson's 41.72%. [7]

Re-election Campaign

Richards announced on February 6, 2013 that he would run for re-election for a full term as Rochester mayor. He lost the Democratic primary to City Council President Lovely A. Warren 57% to 42%. The defeat was considered an upset, as Richards was better funded and led in the pre-vote polling. Richards ended his active campaign and endorsed Warren, but was kept as the chosen candidate on the Independence and Working Families lines. The Independence Party created the grass roots Turn Out for Tom campaign. In response, Richards stated that he would serve if re-elected mayor but denied having any contact with the Independence Party campaign. Richards lost the election to Warren 55% to 39%.

Independence Party of New York Third party in New York, United States

The Independence Party is an affiliate in the U.S. state of New York of the Independence Party of America. The party was founded in 1991 by Dr. Gordon Black, Tom Golisano, and Laureen Oliver from Rochester, New York, and acquired ballot status in 1994. Although often associated with Ross Perot, as the party came to prominence in the wake of Perot's 1992 presidential campaign, it was created prior to Perot's run. As of April 1, 2018, there were 436,312 members statewide. It currently has one registered member of the New York State Assembly, Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

Working Families Party minor political party in the United States

The Working Families Party (WFP) is a minor political party in the United States, founded in New York in 1998. There are active chapters in New York, Connecticut, Oregon, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Nevada, West Virginia, New Mexico, Ohio, and Illinois.

Political Legacy

Richards political career may be remembered for his time as corporation counsel for the City of Rochester under the Duffy administration. This included the selling of the Fast Ferry, the redevelopment of the Midtown Plaza site which included buying the former shopping center, its demolition and the deals to bring in PAETEC (now Windstream) as the anchor tenant of the new development. He also helped sort out many financial difficulties at the Port of Rochester after the Fast Ferry ceased operations, with High Falls, and with local sports teams and landmarks. Richards negotiated a health care agreement with ambulance provider Rural Metro, settled labor contracts and repaired relationships with the city's unions. [8]

Rural Metro Fire, founded in 1948, is an American private fire department that provides fire protection and emergency medical services, to individual homeowners and commercial businesses in unincorporated locations throughout the United States, primarily under a subscription-based model. In certain communities, Rural Metro Fire partners directly with cities, towns and fire districts under master fire contracts to provide a full complement of fire protection, prevention and emergency medical services.

Under Richards as mayor projects such as the building of Rochester's new train station, the building of a new RGRTA bus terminal, the Charlotte Marina Project and the filling in of the east side of the Inner Loop were started. Development of the Midtown project continued.

Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Station train station in Rochester, New York, United States

The Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Station is an Amtrak intermodal transit station in Rochester, New York. Local and regional bus transportation is provided by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA). Various taxi firms service the station, as well. The station is located on the north side of Rochester, just east of High Falls on the south side of the tracks.

After office

It was announced on March, 3rd 2014 that Richards was appointed to and will be chairman of the Rochester City School District volunteer board overseeing a $1.3 billion city school modernization program. [9]


Richards is a graduate of Bucknell University and Cornell University Law School, and served in the U.S. Navy.

Richards is a trustee of the University of Rochester and of George Eastman House.

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  1. Thomas Richards to step in as Rochester’s deputy mayor
  2. democratandchronicle October 28, 2010
  3. Thomas S. Richards sworn in as Mayor of Rochester
  4. Rochester's new mayor meets the press
  5. Thomas Richards resigns as Rochester mayor; Carlos Carballada to take his place
  6. Richards resigns mayor's post; Carballada tapped as acting mayor
  7. 2011 Special Mayoral Certification - Monroe County Board of Elections
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Duffy
Mayor of Rochester, NY
January 1, 2011 - January 20, 2011
Succeeded by
R. Carlos Carballada
Preceded by
R. Carlos Carballada
Mayor of Rochester, NY
April 11, 2011 - December 31, 2013
Succeeded by
Lovely A. Warren