KRCC News sent detailed surveys about some of the most critical issues facing city leaders to the candidates running for a Pueblo city council seat. Read their responses below.
The responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Role and vision
Why do you want to be on the council and what qualifications would you bring to the position?
I want to be on city council because I believe that over the last few decades we haven’t focused enough on our community and have always been reactive. I believe it is time to be proactive and address the issues that we know are here and come around every year, such as a warming shelter and an actual homeless shelter.
What makes you proud to be a Puebloan?
We are a resilient, hard working people. I have been involved in the community since I was a little kid in elementary school, and since then I have grown such a love for the people of our community. We are welcoming to visitors, we always ask if you need help if you’re struggling, and we always rally strong as a community. I’m so proud to be from Pueblo that my campaign slogan is Pueblo Proud.
What endorsements do you hold?
Pueblo works coalition; Kim Archuletta, treasurer; David Lucero, sheriff; Tisha Mauro, state representative; waiting on voting from multiple labor unions.
Do you support the statewide initiative Prop HH?
Do you support the statewide Prop II?
Should Pueblo go back to a city manager-run government instead of maintaining a strong mayor?
Should the city move the bust of Christopher Columbus?
Yes. The statue is a hard issue that needs more than just yes or no. We once had mediators come to town to talk about it at the height of the tension, and I believe that they need to come back now and try to find a common ground. I would support moving it to the museum and still allowing the Italian community to have that area and either erect a Mother Cabrini statue or something else that they support.
Do you support the expansion of bike routes?
What is the biggest challenge facing Pueblo you plan to address as an elected official? How would you address it?
Safety. By already passing the little law enforcement package that city council did, I believe we are on the right path. However, given that we are 62 officers down it’s not enough. We need to increase our recruitment and marketing tactics and separate them from the city. Allow them to do their own recruitment and support what their unions are demanding. That’s just the next few steps. I like the idea of real time crime centers as well. However the only real way to increase safety permanently is by investing in the community with education and services for people. When I’m poverty you steal to survive, so by building community centers with child care and other services, we can help alleviate that pressure.
How might you seek to combat the rising cost of living?
By supporting measures like 2a and promoting others like it we can directly help by putting money in the pockets of people that need it the most.
What kind of new employment opportunities should local government work to attract? What should they pay and how would you work to attract and/or create them?
I think we need to totally restructure PEDCO and not only attract outside business but promote growth of our local businesses as well. I also support us really looking at attracting businesses that are unions because they have a healthy wage structure already in place.
How do you plan on improving public safety?
lease see my answer for number one challenge in Pueblo.
What do you see as the primary contributor to the issue of homelessness in Pueblo and how would you address it?
Lack of centralized services. We have so many churches, nonprofits and 501c3’s that are trying to tackle this issue however so many are duplicating their services. We need to create an actual coalition with the county and all of the community leaders that are involved, and figure out where we can have a place with wrap around services including educational transition services, employment transition services, housing opportunities, and even just somewhere for them to have an address to get an identification card.
How do you feel about the current relationship between city council and the mayor's office? How would you work to foster that relationship?
It’s terrible. But my strong suit is relationship building. I believe that by being a leader on council and actually work on developing working relationships, that gap would surely close.
What is the image of Pueblo? What should it be? What are three steps to get it there?
The current image is hurting. We have been beaten down since the close of the steel mill in the 80’s. However, we are such a beautiful place with good people and potential that I believe we can crawl out of this and once again be a booming community. Step one is to invest in our community itself and find funding through grants for 2 community centers that provide child care. Step two is to gather everyone together and create a real actual homeless commission with all the leaders that I mentioned earlier. Step three is invest in local businesses and jobs and create growth from the bottom up.
Editor's note: This has been updated at the candidate's request.
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