With five hopefuls throwing their name in the ring to be Springfield's next Mayor (current Mayor Mike Houston, Sangamon County auditor Paul Palazzolo, city treasurer Jim Langfelder, activist Sam Johnson, and Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson), WUIS is reaching out to hear from each candidate on why the desire the role.
The most recent candidate to visit the WUIS studios was Ward 2 Alderman, Gail Simpson. She's been in the role for nearly a decade, and says during that time has hit roadblocks when it comes to working with Mayor Mike Houston in support for her ward - a majority black and low-income one on the south-east side of town. She's not running for city council again - instead she hopes to win her bid for mayor.
In the interview Simpson speaks about her background, which includes 36 years working for the State of Illinois. She's also been heavily involved in the local school district, she told us: "I think we have to do a better job of selling District 186, promoting it in terms of the positive things that happen in 186. Also, work much harder to deal with those youth who may not be doing very well in district to make sure their scores increase." Simpson also has a suggestion to keep the city council more involved with local schools. "During the Davlin administration there was an education liaison who worked directly with District 186 - I would love to bring that position back," said Simpson.
She also spoke about the need to add jobs to the local economy, she said small business growth should be the focus. "Small business development is what is going to drive this economic growth in Springfield. Businesses that hire five to 20 individuals - those are the kind of businesses that we need to be looking at bringing to Springfield," said Simpson.