KRCC News sent detailed surveys about some of the most critical issues facing city leaders, to the candidates running for the Pueblo mayoral seat. Read their responses below.
The responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Role and vision
Why do you want to be mayor/on council and what qualifications would you bring to the position?
Currently, I will be starting my 7th year on the Pueblo City Council (2 years as President). I feel that of the 9 candidates I have the most experience in government, community involvement, professional career and education. I am also a Vietnam veteran and held a Top Secret Crypto Clearance. Along with my tenure on City Council I have a served 8 years (2 years as President) on the Pueblo School District #60 Board of Education, 8 years on the Colorado State University System (governs CSU-Ft. Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU Global), and was selected and appointed by then Governor Hickenlooper.
I have a degree in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Management. I am also a student of Edward Deming in using TQM/CQI principles and using Data to make informed decisions. I also serve on the following City and County Boards: Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority, Pueblo Area of Council of Governments, Pueblo Economic Development Corporation and the Front Range Passenger Rail District. I have served on many other Boards in the Community.
What makes you proud to be a Puebloan?
I love my community and have always enjoyed telling our story throughout Colorado. Pueblo is unique in so many ways. Our City has so many amenities that exceed the 8 other communities in Colorado with populations of 110,000 to 130,000. We have 2 hospitals, 4 Golf courses, a University, a Community College, one of the nicest Ice Arenas in the State, a motorsports track, the largest recreational lake in Colorado, our own Airport that can land any size plane,a beautiful Riverwalk, a state of the art Convention Center for small to medium size conventions, a kayak course on the Arkansas River that goes through our City, a fantastic Trail system, an accredited Zoo, many Museums and a beautiful Art Center, the largest High School Football Stadium in Colorado and so much more. Pueblo is about the wonderful people that live here. We have a culture that rewards hard work and of giving to others. The food in Pueblo is amazing. The cost of living is much lower that other cities along the front range. If I am elected as Mayor, I will be the Head Cheerleader in telling the Story of Pueblo and our history.
What endorsements do you hold?
I have not sought any endorsements of Unions or Associations. I have sought only the votes of the People of Pueblo. I have in my elected and appointed positions have always won those positions. I have also chaired 2 major bond issues and won both of them.
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?
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 of our Citizens. I would make Police Recruitment one of my Major efforts the minute I take over the job of Mayor. We along with most Police Departments are having trouble recruiting Police Officers. Homelessness is another problem that I want to work on with an emphasis on those agencies that are bing funded with huge grants to deal with the problem of mental health and addiction. They need to step up and help us solve these area’s of need with the homeless population. I would initiate a more focused approach on community policing. I will confront and lobby our State Legislation on laws that release criminals to soon that are becoming a problem in Pueblo. Repeat offenders are committing crimes once released from prison.
How might you seek to combat the rising cost of living?
The Federal Government through the Federal Reserve Board tries to control inflation by increasing interest rates. This has really hurt cities like Pueblo. There are things that a Mayor can do to try and help our citizens. Interest rate hikes have hurt our ability to build more homes and we as a City can work new ideas that lessen the monthly mortgage payments on a new home. We are lucky in Pueblo that the median price of home is approximately $340,000 compared to $650,000 in Denver and 480,000 in El Paso County. Our City is using an Economic Dashboard which was an Idea I created that helps us with current economic data that can be used to direct construction, economic development, unemployment numbers and jobs that are available. I have started working on a workforce gap solution. We have many unemployed that do not have the skill necessary to fill the many jobs that are available. I plan to work on this issue with training programs and internships. I will be working on an issue that is very important. Why is Pueblo paying, on average, 60 cents more for gas that all other cities north of us? I will be looking at this in detail.
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?
We are fortunate in Pueblo. The citizens tax themselves to provide incentives to bring in primary jobs to Pueblo. I believe that we should continue those efforts to bring in new jobs but with wages that provide an income that can support their families. I currently serve on the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation and will continue to do so if elected Mayor. I will be an active Mayor by not just following leads but also going out to the rest of the U.S. and selling Pueblo and looking for opportunities. I also want us to look at businesses that focus on technology, energy and battery storage.
How do you plan on improving public safety?
See the response to the first question under community issues.
What do you see as the primary contributor to the issue of homelessness in Pueblo and how would you address it?
Mental Health and Addiction, Please see the answer above. Also, we need to focus on affordable housing for those Homeless families that are struggling.
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 can be improved. First, the City Council must understand that the Mayor runs the City and also is the Chief Executive Officers of the City and responsible for managing of 850 employees, 19 directors. The City Council is the legislative branch that makes change by resolutions and ordinances. Both of these offices answer to the citizens. I am the candidate that has the credentials to change the environment and culture. I have a degree in management and have negotiating skills, convincing other on the important of public policy issues, political skills by working within government departments and contractors. I can work with city council to provide clear lines of responsibilities to become more efficient and provide a culture of respect and propriety.
What is the image of Pueblo? What should it be? What are three steps to get it there?
In my mind, the image has always been that of hardworking people with a very strong work ethic. We believe in family and service to our country, our state and to our city. We have many Veterans in our community and have a strong heritage of when our Country needs us we are there to help. Many negative things that are said are not true and are people that have never been to our City.
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