Syracuse Strong President Khalid Bey, Running for City Mayor

by Raven Moore

  • Even in GDFL off-season, Syracuse Strong President Khalid Bey, hopes to tackle higher political aspirations 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - While the country is still stirring from Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration, there are still several political races that candidates are vying to win. 

One of the most intriguing races so far is being held in Syracuse, NY, where the city’s mayoral race has been heating up, despite the cold winter temperatures. 

While incumbent mayor, Ben Walsh, has hopes of earning a re-election bid, he will be facing tough competition in the form of Khalid Bey.  

Bey, who has spent the last decade on the Syracuse common council, announced on December 11th that he was looking to climb the political ladder and become the next Mayor of Syracuse. 

Bey, who has lived for nearly all of his life, grew up in a lower income community of the city and rather than sit in silence, said he felt compelled to help to improve his and other communities who had not been as many opportunities as others. 

“I made the decision that I couldn’t be a mere sideline complainer,” Bey said. “Understanding the conditions of neighborhoods and communities like mine, so who better to represent my issues than me?” 

He made his first run at politics in 2005, but it proved to be unsuccessful. Undeterred, he ran again in 2011 and was elected to the Syracuse common council in 2011 where he has the title of President pro tempore. 

In that role, Bey said that he has provided legislature that ranges from created more jobs in for the city, improving landlord-renter relationships and providing jobs for former convicts. 

“I’ve put into effect laws that would create employment opportunities for people re-entering society,” Bey said. “They wouldn’t be discriminated against because they had a criminal background. They still have to go to work. They still have families that they have to take care of.” 

While Bey has done so much in office, he said that being Mayor would allow him the opportunity to implement more of his legislature to help the city’s underserved communities. 

“I have a passion for empowerment,” Bey said. “I think this would be a great opportunity to empower people greater. I would be able to empower people greater than I have been able to do so far. The ultimate benefit of course would be to implement some of the ideas that I have had for a long time, but as a lawmaker I didn’t have the power to.” 

While politics have been such a large part of Bey’s life, he has been able to affect change through sports too. 

In April of 2016, Bey and his communication management firm were given control of the Gridiron Developmental Football league (GDFL) team, the Syracuse Strong. 

As President, Bey said that while he knows that a lot of players see this as a chance to return to the game they love, but he and his firm see it as an opportunity to help people to achieve greater. 

“We see the Strong as a launching pad,” Bey said. “For players and coaches to get opportunities to hopefully perform on another level or an adjacent opportunity. If we have young players who still have college eligibility and get them an opportunity that is awesome. If they can get into the Arena League or even the NFL, as far as we’re concerned, that is the real win. We win when we graduate people to another opportunity.” 

In terms of his own graduation, Bey will not know his election fate until later on this year, but in the meantime, Bey stays positive and wants to continue to be a leader and positive influence in his community.  

“It has always been my position that you can do anything you want to do,” Bey said. “I make that my business to give my best attempt, but not do so in the expense of other people. There is a lot of space and opportunity out here and I don’t have to step on your toes to win. I offer that to anyone I come in contact with. Everybody has some kind of creative talent that they should give attention to and not be afraid to. Just push the envelope and see what you get. As long as no one gets harmed in the process. It’s not about harming others; it is about each person getting a fair chance to win.” 

"The GDFL is proud of Mr. Khalid Bey, we as an organization have no doubt that he will make a powerful impact in the city of Syracuse and the surrounding communities. We wish him much success as he embarks upon his new journey as a Mayoral candidate in the great city of Syracuse, New York," stated GDFL Commissioner, Charles Thompson.       

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The Gridiron Developmental Football League is a Professional Developmental Football League based in Memphis, Tennessee. This League was established to provide the community with high quality sports entertainment and to provide athletes the opportunity to participate in professional sports. We are looking at partnering with national and local area businesses in our pursuit of excellence and commitment to our community. Our commitment, dedication, and vision are set on building a firm foundation for professionalism and quality. The Gridiron Developmental Football League continues to strive to provide a quality minor professional level of football throughout the United States and beyond giving area athletes and fans the opportunity be a part of history. Our organization would like to thank you for your support. We are excited about the upcoming season and look forward to “Making AN IMPACT” in our Community.

Fans can visit our website at for upcoming announcements, ticketing info, and player tryouts.

The GDFL Communications Office contributed to this article.