Metropolis mayoral candidates get last chance to woo voters
The four mayoral candidates in Metropolis did their best to tug at the heartstrings -- and purse strings -- of voters at their last public forum recently.
According to Local 6 WPSD, the candidates, including Mayor Billy McDaniel, Alderman David McManus, Richard Corzine and Julian "Butch" Adams, touched on issues voters care most about, like the need for economic stimulus and safe, clean streets. They had gathered for the talk at the Metropolis Community Center.
McDaniel, the mayor for 12 years now, reiterated his support for beautification efforts, highlighted how Metropolis had risen to challenges under his tenure, and talked about other challenges that lie ahead. He also stressed the need to ensure that pensions for the city’s police and firefighters receive funding.
McDaniel considers himself to be a lifelong public servant, according to a survey from Murray State University’s WKMS radio that each of the candidates answered.
McManus joined McDaniel in pushing a common narrative: the need to focus on state-level decisions, which they believe have handicapped Illinois’ potential to stimulate the economy.
“It's hard for us to pull companies in or anybody to come in because Kentucky has got their billfold open where Illinois has got their hand out,” McManus said.
McManus believes that the state’s proximity to Kentucky, combined with that state’s business-friendly policies, is hampering Illinois. These conditions have led to a high-pressure fiscal situation for Metropolis that McManus believes he is the best candidate to address.
McManus is originally from the city and has served as an alderman for 12 years. He is also a Vietnam veteran.
Taking a different stance, Corzine was critical of the current operations of the Metropolitan government, arguing that the city needs to do much more to make itself attractive to businesses. Specifically, he criticized the city’s organization of the annual Superman festival, for which it purchased hanging flowers. According to Corzine, it would have been better to put the money toward cleaning the streets, which he characterized as lined with bird feces.
“How can we expect people to clean up their properties and do good work with their properties when we don't do anything with the cities?” Corzine said.
In his survey answers for WKMS, Corzine was optimistic about the city’s prospects because of its location on major rivers with access to rail and road infrastructure, but he argued that Metropolis needs to renew efforts to attract business interests.
Adams has also lived in Metropolis for his entire life and hails from a working-class family. He has supported himself with blue-collar jobs in the Metropolis area, according to his WKMS survey. At the forum, he renewed his calls for a more fiscally conservative budget to avoid bankruptcy for the city.
“I'm afraid of bankruptcy if things are not corrected,” Adams said. “We need to clean up Metropolis so we can attract companies to build here.”
Adams has also expressed concerns that the city could lose its river casino and pledged to hold more public meetings to garner greater community involvement in the local government.
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Metropolis, IL 62960