Office sought: Mayor of East Chicago
Political experience: Current mayor of East Chicago; former councilman at-large; I was a longtime community activist with Citizens in Action in East Chicago.
What are your top three goals?
• Improved public safety. Since becoming mayor in October 2010, we have improved safety in our neighborhoods and increased the number of officers on patrol by more than 200 percent while reducing the costs of overtime. I have also worked with our firefighters to reduce the costs of overtime while ensuring that our fire stations are still fully staffed.
• Accountability and fiscal responsibility. As mayor, I have reduced the cost of government in East Chicago by more than $4 million by eliminating wasteful contracts, negotiating better deals in other contracts, and eliminating insurance benefits to outside contractors, improving procedures and demanding accountability. I also successfully resolved the gaming litigation, securing $11.7 million for economic development. Reducing and balancing East Chicago's budget will remain a top priority in my administration.
3. Increased homeownership opportunities. I instituted a homeownership incentive program, which provides down payment incentives of $15,000 to $25,000 for new and existing homes in our city.
What prompted your decision to run for this office?: As the incumbent, I have made significant progress toward many goals, and have even bigger plans in the pipeline. It is very humbling and gratifying to bring to fruition goals that I worked toward for years as a community activist. For instance, next year East Chicagoans will finally be able elect our School Board members. As mayor I can continue to work to improve the quality of life in our city.
Why should voters choose you over your opponent?: Because I have been consistent. My views on accountability, transparency and good government have not changed from one administration to another. My dedication to my community has not changed from one title to the next. Over the last two decades, my ability to serve my community has never come with strings or a price tag attached. I have not just talked about change, accountability and improvement; I have lived it every day.
What specific steps will you take to help your community cope with the current fiscal climate?: I have taken steps to ensure that the maximum number of jobs and contracts go to East Chicago residents for any city projects done under my administration. I will continue to make sure tax dollars are circulated in our community as many times as possible because that's how economic fairness is created at the local level.
What additional information would you like to share?: Regarding Cline Avenue: I believe the reconstruction of Cline Avenue is vital to our local economy, and I am currently working to ensure the bridge is rebuilt on terms that are beneficial to East Chicago residents as well as those who work within our borders.