This April, citizens of Rockford will take a vote for the next lineup of local leaders.
A few local organizations come together to host a public forum. They want to help people meet with potential mayoral and aldermanic candidates.
During the presidential race, candidates travel the country speaking with citizens. During local elections, the format is the same, just a little smaller scale.
Amanda McNally came for the mayoral race. She says she wishes more people would attend these types of forums. "A lot of people that I know don't even vote for this type of election, they just vote for just the president. so they're not even involved in their actual community."
The format of the forum works like this: each candidate spends two minutes talking about hot topics in Rockford.
Michael Kleen will appear on the Republican ticket. "Crime is a suppressant on the economy, and in order to get the economy moving again, we must tackle the crime issue because crime is like a hidden tax that makes doing business more expensive," says Kleen.
Current mayor Larry Morrissey says if he is elected to a third term, he will work to regulate the city's spending.
"We want more cops on the streets, we want reduced taxes, we have to get better control of our city budget. that means take money out of one fund, like what we spend on the fire department, and being able to put it in the police department. we need to have the freedom to be able to do that," says Morrissey.
The third candidate, Jim Hughes, a Democrat, ran for mayor in the 80's. He didn't win that election. Now, he gives it a second try.
"Our inner core of our city is deteriorating. We have over 6,000 housing units that need to come down or repair. We got to rebuild he inner core of this city and it's not getting done," says Hughes.
If you want to hear more from the aldermen running for election, a similar public forum will be held at the Sullivan Center on March 5th at 6:30.
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