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 and what qualifications would you bring to the position?
I want to be mayor because of my heart and my connection to the community. I was born and raised in Pueblo. It's part of who I am and part of my existence. The direction that we're going is very unsettling to me. We've been very accepting of crime and criminal homelessness and drug use. It's going to take a strong leader to take us in the right direction. I'm qualified because I was born and raised in Pueblo, I have city council experience from 2002-2010 and lots of experience of leadership in the community. This isn't about normalizing or compromising. It's about taking strong leadership on how to turn Pueblo around.
What makes you proud to be a Puebloan?
Being in Pueblo is magical, it's a very unique community. It's got great diversity and great community pride and great potential. Pueblo is a place I will always be. I want to maximize Pueblo's potential and make quality of life a priority.
What endorsements do you hold?
People who stand behind being tough on crime, drugs and corruption.
Do you support the statewide initiative Prop HH?
Do you support the statewide Prop II?
No. Rather than have Prop II reutilized, I would love to look at other options that would best serve the results.
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?
No. Bike routes - need to make sure best serve the bikers and traffic routes so they're safe and connecting.
What is the biggest challenge facing Pueblo you plan to address as an elected official? How would you address it?
The out-of-control crime drug dealership and influx of criminals into the community. With a stance of zero tolerance on crime, on day one we would utilize our home-rule city to enforce existing laws and increase consequences for illegal actions. And support for resources in our police to focus on crimes against people and property.
How might you seek to combat the rising cost of living?
The main one is to use taxpayer dollars with common sense and not use it like monopoly money. We need common sense in expenditures. We need to make sure expenditures make the most sense for helping citizens. Expenditures need to be responsible, reasonable and well-thought-through to make sure we are not wasting our taxpayers' dollars.
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?
First, the pay needs to be livable wages that allow people to stay in Pueblo, our families and kids wanting to stay in Pueblo. It needs to match the direction we're going in with technology and new industries. We need to be creative and focus on the future with what we attract. I would be proactive - there's going to be a lot of shifts across the country in cost of living and cost of housing. So we can recruit the companies that are looking for a new community. If we do it right, Pueblo can be the connection for that outcome.
How do you plan on improving public safety?
Illegal drugs and drug dealers are the root of the majority of crime. We will bring in the focus and manpower to really eradicate the illegal drugs and drug dealers in Pueblo. That will eliminate most of the crime.
What do you see as the primary contributor to the issue of homelessness in Pueblo and how would you address it?
Homelessness is not a crime. But we have now established ourselves as a safe haven for illegal homeless activity. Through the needle exchange and other softness on crime we're attracting more people to come to Pueblo. To me that is not acceptable and that trend needs to change immediately.
How do you feel about the current relationship between city council and the mayor's office? How would you work to foster that relationship?
The current relationship is very chaotic. Mainly because the mayor is not including city council in parts of the governance other than voting on ordinances and resolutions. There needs to be more collaboration between every city council member and the mayor. We need to find the unity and take on the projects where each city council person is actively involved to help Pueblo reach its potential and best future.
What is the image of Pueblo? What should it be? What are three steps to get it there?
The image of Pueblo, unfortunately, is not very attractive. The image should be the shining star of the state. We have more gems and more unique aspects of the community than any other I know. We need strong leadership in enhancing those gems. By cleaning up this community we can be very attractive as a place to live, work, and play.
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