Morrissey’s in the race: An interview

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-zOmQkK60EZ.jpg’, ‘Photo by Paul Marek’, ‘Attorney Larry Morrissey attained 26 percent of the votes in the 2001 Rockford mayoral election. From the top of the Morrissey Building.’);

Editor’s note: Larry Morrissey has announced he is a candidate for the Mayor of Rockford in 2005. In his first attempt, in 2001, he ran as an Independent. At this point, he has not committed to running as a Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

Rumored Republican candidate, Third Ward Alderman Doug Mark, is also a master of suspense. “I have made my decision; I just haven’t made it public yet,” Mark said, adding that he will hold a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Adding more spice, Businessman Joseph Wilson announced he will challenge Mayor Doug Scott in the Democratic Party primary.

First of all candidates to announce, Scott confirmed his run for a second term under the Democratic Party banner.

TRRT: What do you think of the last three-and-a-half years of the Scott Administration?

Morrissey: The sad thing is that the recent result of the mayor’s task force efforts are the sort of things that should have been done the first 100 days that the mayor took office, instead of three-and-a-half years into the process.

The first 100 days were the time for planning. The rest of your term is the time for action. This city needs consistent and timely leadership, whether we’re talking about job creation and education, or transportation and downtown redevelopment.

The mayor’s office must provide a list of consistent priorities and a mechanism for the community to help achieve those goals.

TRRT: Do you expect support from the Speaker of the House Mike Madigan’s office for Scott; and if so, in what form?

Morrissey: I expect that the majority of the current mayor’s campaign funds will be generated through efforts and sources outside of Rockford, like they were for the last election. The problem that creates for our community is that outsiders have a significant and unreasonably large role in setting our community’s agenda.

TRRT: Do you expect support from the Mayor Daley’s office and the Chicago machine for Scott; and if so, in what form?

Morrissey: I don’t know what role our current administration has in Chicago, but it’s very apparent to me that we have not been successful in advocating our position or negotiating on behalf of our community.

What is clear is that there are certain state and national interests within the main party system that favors airport expansion outside of Rockford in either O’Hare or Peotone and simply doesn’t see Rockford in any way fitting into a solution. Such a parochial and short-sighted view not only hurts Rockford, but will also, in the long run, hurt the entire Chicago metro area as well as the Midwest region.

Rockford’s airport must become part of the overall Midwest transportation solution that includes a balanced approach to automobile, air and rail transportation. We will be successful as a community and as a region when we provide a competitive atmosphere such as that prescribed by Bob O’Brien at our airport—low cost, high value.

TRRT: Define Doug Scott’s political base.

Morrissey: The current administration in the last race appealed to voters who saw Doug Scott as a safe option and a known quantity. It appears, however, that the mayor never extracted himself from the legislative mode and has been unable to provide effective and clear direction and advocacy for the citizens of the City of Rockford. We need a mayor who’s going to fight for the City of Rockford against those interests who would see it consumed by a perverse vision of regionalism; in which, the “region” benefits at the expense of the City of Rockford.

TRRT: Will you have any support from any state-wide organizations or connections?

Morrissey: I have the support from people from the City of Rockford who believe in my vision and my message of hope and real action. I don’t solicit nor do I need the support of state-wide organizations.

TRRT: Will you have any support from any organizations or individuals in Chicago?

Morrissey: I may get the support of a couple of college friends, who, if they don’t support me, will no longer be on my Christmas card list.

TRRT: Define your political base.

Morrissey: My base consists of a broad spectrum of the Rockford electorate. Republicans, Democrats and Independents vote for me because I will unite Rockford through our common goals to create better schools, neighborhoods, transportation networks and greater job opportunities.

TRRT: How would you stop companies leaving Rockford.

Morrissey: Our efforts to retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses to Rockford must start and end with a goal of making this community an attractive place to live.

The community must invest in its core infrastructure and stop neglecting older residential and business corridors, such as Kishwaukee, 11th Street, North and South Main and West State.

We are getting beaten not only by companies overseas but by other neighboring communities. No matter what business environment is given to us by state and national policy-makers, we must do everything in our power to make this community competitive. We have ample resources to compete. We must be united, and we must be nimble to beat our competition.

TRRT: What will be the most important issue in this mayoral race?

Morrissey: Leadership.

TRRT: What is your position on posting city budgets, bids and bid winners on the World Wide Web?

Morrissey: Yes.

TRRT: How much do you think will be spent this year on the mayoral race?

Morrissey: We will raise what it takes to win this race. This will be a relatively short and powerful campaign, which will clearly distinguish our approach from the current administration’s.

TRRT: What is your position on campaign finance reform and partisan elections?

Morrissey: I’ve been very clear that a community like Rockford would be better served by a nonpartisan election.

It is unfortunate that state and national party issues are used to drive a wedge through this community when we most desperately need to be unified.

TRRT: What is your position on renewable energy use and promotion by city government?

Morrissey: As many of your readers will know from my track record, I am a great supporter of energy efficiency gained through both the supply side and the demand or consumption side of the equation.

Not only do we need to invest in and explore alternative forms of energy, which can also provide future manufacturing opportunities for our city, but we must also design our community to be less dependent on the automobile through making our community more walkable, bikeable and liveable.

We must also provide much better public transportation options at both the local and regional level that are fully available to all areas of the city.

TRRT: Do you think you can win? Why?

Morrissey: Yes, I can absolutely win because this city is ready for a change in the right direction. We are ready to shake free from our addiction to mediocrity to achieve true greatness. We are sick and tired of standing still, while our peer cities pass us by. I will win because the citizens of this community realize it is time, and they expect Morrissey. Every day for the last three and a half years, people keep asking me to run and win. I will not disappoint them.

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