Driven to make a difference

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From an early age, Rachel Barnhart knew she wanted to report on the Rochester community.

Rachel Barnhart

The daughter of two city school teachers, Barnhart is a graduate of John Marshall High School, a setting that she says made her acutely aware of poverty, crime and educational inequality in the city of Rochester.

“I was so concerned with what I was seeing. I had classmates who were having babies at a young age, who were going to jail, who were getting killed, who were selling drugs,” she says. “I’ve never seen such an incredible waste of human potential. And, of course, I was privileged. I had all of the advantages and so it really was tale of two schools.”

Barnhart, a Cornell graduate, spent 18 years as a broadcast journalist. A Democrat, she also has been a candidate for state Assembly, Rochester mayor and congressional representative in New York’s 25th Congressional District.

She spoke with Beacon publisher Alex Zapesochny about politics, journalism and her motivation to hold government accountable. Listen to their conversation.


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