Rockford Mayoral Debate

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

The four candidates for Rockford mayor take on tough issues and each other, in a debate at the Coronado theater. Here's a look at what's up for discussion between the four very different men.

The four candidates are incumbent Larry Morrissey, an Independent, retired police lieutenant and union leader Doug Block, a Democrat; Winnebago County Board Member John Harmon, a Republican, and Green party candidate Jesus Correa.

One top issue the rivals addressed was how to fill the city's 8.6 million dollar budget deficit. The candidates were asked how to manage employee costs in particular.

Here's a sampling of their responses, beginning with Correa's take on making better use of the city's current employees.

"Make it mandatory that if you're just around not doing anything at your computer, you're going to get outside and do some streetwork and fill in some potholes do some yardwork and clean up the litter," says Correa.

Block adds, "You have to start from the bottom, work your way up and find what positions you don't need to have that are duplicated efforts and what agencies can we have assist us with Rockford to get things done, that we're currently doing with our staff that we have."

"It's absolutely destructive to people when you do take their job and yet at some point you just do have to be tough enough to understand that we've tried to be all things to all people, we can't be," says Harmon.

Morrissey counters, "We have to cut waste out of the city's budget and the truth is, the manning changes that we've proposed for the fire department, reducing manning from four to three on an engine company, that doesn't put our citizens in jeopardy, but it does costs that can be put into other parts of the city budget."

One issue where the challengers don't see eye to eye with the current mayor deals with how school board members should be selected.

Mayor Morrisey says having the administration select the school board members will insure accountability. Doug Block supports the current election system saying it does provide accountability, at the polls. Meantime John Harmon says school board elections are the only way to insure proportional representation.

The candidates also addressed topics ranging from home rule, to new policing strategies and how to draw more businesses to Rockford.

Remember the election is coming up soon, you can head to the polls April 7th.

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  • by marquetta Location: rockford on Mar 26, 2009 at 02:05 AM
    Where is that candidate for mayor that is gonna bring this city together as a whole? I am 5o, born and raised here,and I have yet to see one mayor who will fix this divided city. Ride across the river from east to west and you will see a forgotten side of town, do people deserve to live as such? Is the reason building up downtown and West State st. is taking so long, is because it's across the bridge? I bet it didn't take long to build that jail. Machesney has built a mini-city of stores and a movie theatre in just a few years and west rockford still looks like a forgotten city. The old Church School on Furman st. has been like that for over 20 years!! If neither of you candidates are gonna make this much needed change and address it instead of talking about it, neither of you have my vote!!! We want a mayor that care's, one that will fix all of this, including our horrible street's!
  • by Tom Windelborn Location: Rockford, IL on Mar 25, 2009 at 10:33 PM
    I fully support Jesus Correa VII for mayor. He's the only one who can give this town what it needs: a soul.
  • by chance on Mar 25, 2009 at 08:38 PM
    di danyone else think Larry"more for me"Morrisey avoid alot of topics and simply tried to blame block. he must want to discredit his competition instead of his policies speaking for themselves.if the tax payers only knew how arrogant and crooked he ws with his "friends" and his investments in new tifs and so on. This guy only wants whats best for himself and his high dollar buddies.
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