Well, if you dont know whom to vote for mayor, youre in a mighty big boat. Theres lots of people who are going to be scratching their heads right up until the final Election Day, and I dont blame them one bit. Its nice to know that we have a good crop of candidates to choose from. And I hope you avail yourself of the public debates, forums and other programs in which youll be invited to meet the candidates.
The two places I want to invite you to include an environmental debate this Monday, Feb. 28, sponsored by the BlackHawk Sierra Club. This will be held at the Burpee Natural History Museum, 737 N. Main St. (You can park in the Riverfront Museum Parks parking lot and walk through the hallways.)
The program will start at 7:30 p.m. and is hosted by the BlackHawk Sierra Club, who have invited the Green Communities Environmental Vision Project to start with a short video, Ten Action Steps for a Greener Community. The candidates will then introduce themselves and respond to these recommendations as well as from questions submitted by Sierra Club members and environmentalists. You may send me any of your specific questions, but I know Im going to ask them about urban sprawl, protection of our waterways, especially the Kishwaukee and Rock rivers, and see how they will encourage more rehabilitation in the urban centers.
The next debate is at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, at the Midway Village & Museum Center, 6799 Guilford Rd., way out on the east side in the midst of urban sprawlville. The mayoral candidates are invited to address local problems deeply rooted in Rockfords history, and the Midway Museum staff will provide a historical perspective for each problem. The topics include: Reinventing Rockford, which has challenged local industry since its founding; Renewing the Downtown and Justice for All.
The final area concerns the struggle for equality, which Rockford has faced and sometimes overcome. The candidates will be given a little bit more time to pontificate than in the usual debate format. Rockford Urban Ministries, for which I work, the League of Women Voters, Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, and others are sponsoring the Midway Museum program.
Ive seen the candidates speak both separately and together. I can assure you, youll discover insights about Rockford as well as the individuals running. I like all three people. Larry Morrisseys exuberance and passion for the city, Doug Scotts expertise and long-time service, as well as Gloria Cardenas Cudias charm and energy, would make any city proud to have any one of them for mayor.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.