The NAACP hosted a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday as seven people compete for the top job in city hall.
NAACP First Vice President Fred Royal Jr. questioned the candidates on a number of issues, including public safety.
Just this month, two police officers and a sheriff's deputy were shot while serving the city. All three survived and have been released from the hospital.
“My solution is to prevent things, before it gets out of hand," said Ieshuh Griffin, a paralegal and community activist. "A lot of these criminal activities are because of desperation, or a lack of services, or bad [judgment].”
“The Office of Violence Prevention has been doing a great job," said candidate Michael Sampson, an entrepreneur. "I would love to see their office moved up to the north-side, so they can respond to stuff faster. I think faster response times for police, fire and OVP will help save lives.”
Royal Jr. also pressed the candidates on how the next mayor will improve lies for communities of color.
“It would be incumbent to me to bring new development to communities of color, which have been economically challenged over the past few decades," said Sheriff Earnell Lucas.
“The thing that I think is critically important for the next mayor to focus on is creating more family supported jobs," said Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson. "Because when you turn back the clock several decades, we used to be the number one place for African Americans."
And in a city with income inequality, the candidates were asked how the next mayor would keep people in legacy homes and businesses.
“How about a position that's fully funded in the housing division within our department of city development, that’s completely dedicated to anti-displacement," said 14th District Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.
The candidates were also asked how they'd deal with the city's litter problem.
“We need to use the neighborhood associations to be a part of this," said State Senator Lena Taylor. "We need to use the RON group — Rebuilding Our Neighborhoods — and allow those associations and bids to be a part of a beautification project.”
“One of the initiatives I’m very proud of – we created out little marshals program," said former Alderman Bob Donovan. "I would want to expand that across the city and teaching the kids the importance of not littering.”
The candidates will compete in a primary on February 15. The top two advance to the spring election on April fifth.
TMJ4 News also recently spoke with all seven candidates in-depth. You can find those interviews here.