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Houston Announces Mayoral Candidacy; Opponents Respond

Houston Announces Mayoral Candidacy; Opponents Respond

Photo: Newsradio WTAX/Alex Degman

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has announced he’ll run for another term.

This comes despite his pledge four years ago to serve only one term. But he says he’s done too much to see his work reversed.

“I think the average person in this community who’s not involved in politics really sees a difference in city government, and sees the fact that we have moved city government forward,” he says. “Those people will respond, and respond at the polls.

Houston faces a potentially crowded primary for the 2015 mayoral election, but he wouldn’t talk about his opponents and wouldn’t compare his positions to theirs.Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo, for example, doesn’t think voters will respond the same way.

“[Mike] Houston announced today that he is breaking his pledge to Springfield voters,” said Palazzolo in a written statement. He’s out of town and couldn’t be reached for comment. “…Houston led citizens, voters and donors to believe that he would only serve one term.”

Houston also resisted talking about who in city government or the city council will support him, noting aldermen will likely be concerned with their own elections.

Ward 6 Alderman Cory Jobe is one such alderman, though it’s likely he’ll announce a run for mayor next month. Jobe, too, is disappointed.

“I think a lot of citizens voted for him because of that,” Jobe said, referring to the pledge. “I think when it comes to local politics, the voters listen to those sort of pledges. A little disappointed in that, but not surprised like I said. We’ll go forward.”

Jobe says the mayor’s announcement will not hinder his ability to work with him on the city council.

“I thought at the end of four years people would be so mad at me, that there would be no chance that I would have any opportunity to even consider running for reelection,” Houston said, noting again the work he’s done in the past few years.

Houston’s first term has also been rocked with at least one scandal, namely the police document shredding scandal that caused both the chief of police and corporation counsel to step down.

“You could point out anything, and in hindsight you can always do a better job, there’s no question about that,” Houston says. “Yes, we could have done a better job. If you’re talking about doing things like our infrastructure program, yes we could do a better job. Hindsight is 20/20.”

The Illinois State Police investigation continues.

The municipal primary is set for February 24, 2015.

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