I am thankful to live in a country with a democracy that allows us to elect the leaders we think will best represent and reflect values close to ours. It is because of this democracy that we have the choice of several candidates for Mayor in Plainfield, and this power to choose is what empowers us as a people.
It is very easy for each candidate to tell you that they are the best person for the job. No one becomes a Mayoral candidate with intent to lose the race. I am no exception; however, in my case, unlike other candidates, I can show you how my policies have benefited Plainfield over the past three years and share a solid vision for continued growth and better quality of life for every resident.
I am not here to bash the other candidates because negativity breeds disharmony and I am not in the business of dividing but rather one of uniting. However, I will draw your attention to their proposed plans and track record.
There has been more positive change for our City under my administration than under any previous administration for at least the last twenty years. This is not bragging on my part; it is not exaggeration, it is not conjecture or wishful thinking; these are facts that can be proven and that I’d like to share with you.
There is only one thing I will ask of you as you read this; open your minds, put aside any preconceived preference you might have. I want to have a frank and open dialog, and I am sharing with you, not as your Mayor, or candidate for Mayor, but one Plainfield resident to another who wants the same thing you do… very simply, a better quality of life for my family and every Plainfield resident and to see our City shine and be a place where people come to visit and stay to live.
From 2014 when I took office until now, just three short years later, Plainfield has undergone a dramatic change. Surplus levels have risen steadily each year, hitting an unprecedented high of $9.1 million last year.
Crime has fallen steadily with a drop of 25% in overall crime and 30% in violent crime. We’ve taken over 130 guns off the street.
Unemployment has fallen from a high of almost 14 percent in 2013 to a low of 5.4 percent as of November 2016.
Developers took note of the positive changes and showed their faith in the growth of the City by investing over $250 million representing over 62 development projects affecting residential as well as commercial space, and bringing in over $14 million dollars in taxes to the city during the pilot periods.
We’ve invested in our recreation programs providing over 80 throughout the course of last year.
These are simply facts – not embellished, not exaggerated; the fact is that I've never lost track of the promises I made to our residents when taking office in 2014, and I’ve worked hard to deliver on every single one. I live in Plainfield, I raised a family in Plainfield, I believe in Plainfield, and I care about the well-being of every resident.
I’d like to point out that Tracey Brown, who is also running for Mayor, despite being a council member for several years, introduced no legislation during that time to benefit Plainfield residents. She has such a strong record of abstention on votes that it is difficult to understand where she stands on issues. In a recent Facebook post, she touts giving free funerals as part of what she would bring to the table as a Mayor. With all due respect, if I were a reverend I would consider it an honor and a duty to console and offer respite to those who are hurting. As a father and a brother my heart is heavy and burdened for those who have lost loved ones, and I have visited with and offered comfort to the families; as Mayor, my focus goes beyond providing comfort to offering answers and real solutions.
Moving forward, we have invested resources in helping our law enforcement as they work hard to prevent crime in Plainfield. We've installed cameras in public and private spaces, all monitored from Police HQ on state of the art equipment. We've trained and deployed officers to the force; 20 last year and 10 in training for this year and they are all Plainfield residents. Our community policing continues with officers walking through our neighborhoods every day; we're making more traffic stops and have invested in license plate readers which will give even more insight as cars drive around our communities. The point is, my administration is proactively working to prevent crime in our city, we have a plan, and we are steadily driving crime down.
Our plan is not to give free funerals but to prevent them.
If you are a resident paying taxes in the City of Plainfield, you must ask yourself a question and give yourself the honest answer… "who has the best plan for moving Plainfield forward?"
Take a hard look at what the candidates offer as their plans for making Plainfield better and ask yourself "are these plans realistic?" The good Reverend stated at the candidates' forum that she wants to bring big name retailers into Plainfield. I think this is a great idea but ask her how she plans to make it happen? IF she does have a plan, when does she intend to share it with us?
Candidate Rivers speaks of building a community center but like the other candidates can give no specifics for how she plans to do this.
Plainfield, we deserve better than the dreams and visions of people incapable of bringing them to life. We deserve better than "apple pie, in the sky" wishful thinking. We deserve solid, realistic, long-term planning and leadership.
When there is no plan, people resort to calling names and utilizing smear tactics such as was done to cast aspersions on my record in a recent mailer sent out by the Brown campaign. The intent is to distract from the real issues at hand and to refrain from answering real questions. This does not perturb me and as former First Lady Michelle Obama said "when they go low, we will go high" - my record speaks for itself, and unlike the plans of the other candidates, it can be substantiated.
My administration has systematically and carefully brought real development into Plainfield, development that will over time ease the tax burden of every resident, offer alternatives in living choices and attract more commercial traffic. Plainfield ask yourself, do you want to take a step backward from the development we've had so far? Do you want to go back to when everything in Plainfield was stagnant, and there was absolutely no development taking place?
I believe in supporting our local businesses and helping them to grow, providing resources to help them succeed. This is why we have free seminars to help our small businesses with things like accounting, advertising, getting online, etc. I believe that if Plainfield is to grow, we must grow together, every ward, every neighborhood, every business. My focus is to provide resources to offer support when it is needed.
Plainfield, I want to continue as your Mayor because while we've made a lot of progress, many plans are just coming to fruition and we need more than three years to realize them fully. Rome wasn't built in a day, and a City cannot transform overnight. It requires vision and continuity, and that is what I represent when I ask you to cast a vote for me as your Mayor for a second term. I'm asking you to cast a vote for long-term stability, cast a vote for prudent fiscal management in City Hall, cast a vote for transparency in our local government, cast a vote for lowering crime, cast a vote for falling unemployment, cast a vote for increased investment and development. Cast a vote for the future of our children, our community, our city. I ask you to vote column A to vote Democrat; and vote for safety, reliability, and progress.