As a current candidate for City Council, what do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City of Peoria that you will address upon re-election?

The challenges facing the City of Peoria are many, but not unlike many other municipalities in the State of Illinois. The questions are what do we do about these challenges and who makes the changes? It’s pretty easy to see the infrastructure needs, the crime, closed businesses, and deteriorating neighborhoods. I challenge us to look deeper at the root causes.

1. Lack of Vision
2. Lack of Leadership
3. Public Pension Reform

Lack of Vision

The Peoria City Council has historically held a strategic planning session after a Council changeover. This didn’t happen after the last election. While these sessions were not always perfect for what we needed, it at least had us singing out of the same hymnal. For the last two years, Councilmembers have been unable to answer questions on what our agenda is in terms of critical things like economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and strategies to keep businesses in Peoria.

Left without that cohesive vision, I have led efforts of my own the last two years to continue further development of the Warehouse District, shift a focus to residential living and business development downtown, and work with businesses throughout our city to address issues so that they STAY! The financial problems that prevent things like road repair and too few police officers come from declining budgets, and that is due to a lack of vision on how to grow our economy. I will continue to push for this agenda on my own, as well as building a coalition to ensure we have a positive impact in the next two years.

Lack of Leadership

Citizens elect us to lead the way, be there when they can’t, find out the information they don’t know, and make honest decisions in their best interest! In the last two years, we have experienced little transparency, closed-door meetings, deficient involvement in critical City decisions, and complete dishonesty. I have never seen such a lack of trust and disrespect on a board as I have seen here. I have worked vigorously to expose these issues and push for reforms while striving to put six votes together to get things done and stop what isn’t right. We are going to need this leadership during the next two years more than ever as we fight to get a majority back to drive the leadership to take the City in the right direction.

Public Pension Reform

I started sounding this alarm when I first ran for election. We have an unsustainable pension system mandated by the State of Illinois, and they are the only ones who can change it. When I was first elected, the unions were very much in denial about this, but the longer I have continued to push the message, the outlying results have come to fruition; many of them now get it. The next piece is persuading them to work with us and asking their legislators to change the current system. Until the unions that help elect the representatives that protect this pension system sound the alarm, it won’t change. Now they are seeing what I (and others) predicted is coming true in the form of budget catastrophes mandating staffing cuts. It isn’t just their pensions at risk; it’s their jobs.

While I would like to report that electing me is going to fix all these things; I can’t! It takes a majority of the Council to get things done and a leader who can guide. What I can promise you is that I will be there to make the issues public, know the facts, and provide a path.

For more information, please visit my website.

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