We dreamed of more for Springfield...

JULY 14, 2014 MIKE HOUSTON: In 2011, we were still reeling from the Great Recession. The downward turn of the economy clearly exposed the financial vulnerabilities of this great city. Fundamental resources we're being eroded by poor fiscal management, non-existent long-term planning, and a bloated city workforce.

As a banker, I stated I believed the city was bankrupt.This opinion was not from a legal prospective, but rather a judgment from having spent 24 years in the banking industry. There was not a process in place to manage the budget.Springfield was running on credit. Co-mingling various funds to write checks. Borrowing from one line o pay for another.

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The construction industry had ground to a halt. Unemployment and underemployment was high.

Wages were low. Good jobs we're scarce. Even the library hours had been reduced.

We all recognized the need for professional management at city hall and we united on a journey. Not to simply win an election campaign. But rather to restore Springfield. To correct our finances. To fix our infrastructure. And to put the city on a path to better prosperity.

We recognized that if you're willing to do the hard work, a job should be available. No matter which part of the city you lived in or came from, or no matter your race, your gender or sexual orientation.

It was four years ago that you joined me in believing in a Springfield that would allow you the opportunity to pursue happiness and the possibility for all to leave to our children a better city than the one we we're given.

We dreamed together that our hometown could be a happy and a safe place for all to live, work, and play.We dreamed of Springfield once again being respected as the capital city of Illinois and the cherished final resting place of Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, we dreamed of a first class Springfield. I personally could not witness our great city continue to falter any further than it had. This is why I made the decision to run for mayor. I love this city and felt that it was my duty to step forward and to take on the serious problems facing city government.

That was four years ago. At the time, my plan was to serve one term. I was humbled by your trust and confidence then, and I have been deeply inspired by your continued reassurance and encouragement.

It is for this reason, combined with the reality that we have goals and accomplishments yet to be achieved, I am seeking another term as mayor of the great city of Springfield.

Candidly, another reason is I'm having the time of my life! I enjoy serving the city I love. I like being able to solve problems and improve people's lives. I enjoy what I do, and I hope you feel that I have done a very good job. Too few people love what they do. I happen to be one of those lucky ones who do.

One of my considerations has been my wife, Carolyn. Four years ago Carolyn and I agreed that I would serve one term. Now, she supports my desire to serve another 4 years. While I have enjoyed being mayor, she has made many sacrifices over the last 4 years so I could serve. Our journey since 2011 has been one with many twists and turns and hills and valleysall while making considerable progress.

Today we're on the right path to rise to the top.Springfield City government is working, we are knowledgeable of the issues and we are headed in the right direction. Working together, we have put our financial house in order. Even in these tough economic times, the rating agencies have elevated our credit rating because of our strong financial management.

The latest unemployment report shows we have the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6%, tying us with Bloomington-Normal. There was an increase of 1,500 jobs from May 2013 to May 2014. More than 900 of those jobs we're in construction.Jobs are in demand and now some are hard to fill, especially in the construction trades.Businesses are recovering.

Theres more progress to be made! Springfield is close to erupting into a major city for commerce and healthcare. Today, there is inordinate potential for even greater success and I'm determined to see it through.There are still more jobs we can create.Theres still a better credit rating we can achieve.Theres still a better economy just waiting to emerge.

Government can't solve all the problems, but what I've learned is that with love for your neighbor, anything is possible. We must continue to make sure all residents of Springfield get fair and honest treatment and the jobs and respect that they deserve.

Springfield may not have the money to do every program we'd like to do, but we can be innovative and think about new ways to tackle old problems.

We must always treat every human life with care and dignity.We will build our own opportunities.

We will fix our streets and sewers. We will consolidate our railroad tracks to 10th Street. We will continue to maintain sound fiscal discipline. We will improve our quality of life. We will accept all persons for who they are. We will learn from the lessons of our past, and we will do it all together. Together Springfield will move forward.

Now is the time to continue what we've started. As your mayor, I will continue to persist in bettering our community. As your mayor, l will continue to advance the next generation of jobs, in health care, science, and technology. As your mayor, I will stay the course in helping all Springfield residents, live more comfortable and secure lives. I am committed to continuing to grow the Springfield economy as your mayor, to expand our public private partnerships and to support businesses in Springfield.

As your mayor, I will persevere so Springfield can be the city of the future. I will continue to be the professional manager and leader this city deserves. With so many evolving projects, there's too high of an investment to get off course or to go backwards. Springfield can't afford to make the mistakes again I've worked so hard to correct.

Eliminating a net 97 employees in city government and turning a negative $3.5 million dollar average daily balance into a $7.8 million positive average daily balance was not by happenstance.It happened because my team and I competently manage city government and competently manage the budget.

We changed the way people are hired. When positions are open in city government, all are evaluated and the best candidate, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or any demographic, is selected. Its high time to dismantle the systemic injustices, not just in city government, but anywhere they exist in our city. The city is best when all can use their talents. The city is best when we all come together. The city is best when all have a voice in all the issues.

Thats why my door is always open and any citizen can see me face-to-face. One night a month I meet with anyone who wants to talk to me without any appointments. The purpose is to let everyone know that they have the ability to meet with the highest elected official in the city and discuss any issue they choose. Monthly I participate on various radio shows to answer questions both from the host and people who call in.

This is what I'm fighting for and these are the reasons I'm seeking another term as mayor. I strive for a bigger, better, bolder Springfield. Today, I'm again asking for your support, your trust, and your vote. I am a proven leader, what you see is what you'll get.

I humbly ask for the time that is needed to finish the work we've started together.I ask for the time to make Springfield a better place for our children and grandchildren. Springfields future is in our hands let's hold it tight. Lets dismiss the naysayers and filter out the silly cynicism and nastiness.

I believe my hometown is the greatest place to live. I believe in our residents.I believe in our businesses.I believe in you. I'm not the perfect mayor, but I am the right-one, needed right-here, right-now. Today, I'm smarter, more energized, and even more eager to continue this journey. Together we can continue what we started.

So long as I have the continued honor to be your mayor I will continue to stay the course that we have charted.We are a great city in the greatest nation on earth home to our greatest President With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.

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Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 03/06/2018






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