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Springfield Mayoral Candidates Agree On Many Issues During Debate

During a mayoral debate on Thursday night, candidates Paul Palazzolo and Jim Langfelder were both hesitant to criticize the Springfield City Council when asked what they thought was its biggest mistake.

Palazzolo says his biggest issue is the city's hiring of an inspector general and questions the need. He says an inspector general looks at past events. He would rather see funds go toward the hiring of a city planner.

"I think those funds are better spent in a proactive manner, rather than a reactive manner," Palazzolo said.

Langfelder says the council purchased equipment at costs above what was budgeted, instead of returning the excess funds to City, Water, Light and Power.

"When I became treasurer, each and every year, I lived within my budget, and I believe that's what the city needs to do, and as mayor, I will do that," Langfelder said.

Both of the candidates for Springfield mayor say they are against right-to-work zones. That stance puts Paul Palazzolo at odds with fellow Republican, Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"There's no value in it, it's a distraction, and we need to focus on, as I've mentioned earlier, bringing jobs, businesses, customers and residents to the city of Springfield, and that needs to be our main priority and our main focus," Palazzolo said.

Rauner says he is in favor of local municipalities deciding whether to allow right-to-work zones. Langfelder says the city should focus on targeting industry and bringing in jobs that pay a livable wage. The two mayoral candidates agree on many other issues, including an effort to increase businesses and residents downtown. The election is April 7.

Lisa Ryan is a graduate student in the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She previously worked at Indiana Public Radio and the college radio station founded by David Letterman. She is a 2014 broadcast journalism and political science graduate of Ball State University.
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