January 25 – The Decatur Public Library held the first of several debates that Decatur mayoral candidates Julie Moore Wolfe and John Phillips will have until the spring election.
The forum was hosted by the Coalition of Neighborhood Organizations or CONO. The two discussed several topics including their vision if elected and answered questions from attendees.
Moore Wolfe is seeking election for the first time after being appointed in 2015 with the passing of Mike McElroy. She says progress is being made currently and she’d like to continue to be a part of the decision making to continue that success.
“We’re getting things done here and we’re taking care of the basics like infrastructure,” says Moore Wolfe. “You have to have those things in place for economic development to happen. All you have to do is look at downtown Decatur to see what vibrant means and we want to see that throughout the rest of the community.”
Moore Wolfe served on city council for eight years and says she’s proud of the accomplishments of the council during that time.
“We needed to solve the water issue, find space for the police department and figure out the sewer issue, we’re taking care of all those things like we said we would do and I’m proud of that,” says Moore Wolfe.
Phillips is a Decatur businessman and President of the Decatur Public Library Board. He presented five key principals that he would like to accomplish if elected. Phillips attended a regional network meeting in Dayton, Ohio and listened to the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio speak. Phillips says after hearing that speech learned that Decatur’s problems are miniscule compared to theirs.
“We’ve got no problems compared to what Youngstown is dealing with after the steel industry moved out and then how to figure out how to reconstitute a city,” says Phillips. “I was inspired by him and I’m patterning what I’d like to do after what I heard from him.”
The two were asked questions like their plans for job creation and how to revitalize older neighborhoods. Phillips brought up several points including no increases on taxes, having someone to manage the City Manager, creating a requirement for all city employees living in the city and to create well paying jobs.
Moore Wolfe says the key to job growth is by supporting what the city currently has and cited the Midwest Inland Port as one of the possibilities. She said she would also like to see more minority police officers and firefighters. Phillips said continuing to bring in fast food will not help with good paying jobs.
The forum was around an hour long and several city council candidates attended including David Horn, Andrew Apel and Pat McDaniel. The city council will have its forum at the Decatur Public Library on Tuesday, February 28th at 5:30 p.m.