Rockford Mayoral Candidates Speak in Forum

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Rockford mayoral candidates said the key issues facing the city are crime and the economy.

With little more than two weeks to go until the primary election, candidates are speaking at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters about why they feel they should be elected, and what they would do to tackle the big problems.

"We've had a lot of challenges in Rockford but we've made a lot of progress," said Mayor Larry Morrissey. "Improving our schools, partnering with Alignment Rockford. Taking efforts like geographic policing, community policing, to push public safety. Driving for more partnerships to improve public safety."

But Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Hughes said the mayor's dismantling of more than two thousand streetlights has actually hurt public safety.

"Since the streetlights came down, burglaries have gone up 20 percent," said Hughes. "And like I said kiddingly, it seemed like the mayor attended the Superbowl because the lights went out there too."

Hughes said the first thing he would do as mayor is apply for a $20 million grant to rehab the city's housing.

Republican mayoral candidate Michael Kleen said he's running for office because he doesn't see his needs being met with the current administration.

"I want to get the government out of the way and have entrepreneurs do their jobs," said Kleen. "I want to put more cops on the streets. Give the police department the resources it needs to get the job done. And that's really where my philosophy and the philosophy of my opponents differ."

All candidates are running unopposed within their parties.

Though none of the mayoral candidates will be in the primary elections, six of the ward's alderman spots are up for a vote.

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