The 21st show is starting a new series highlighting mayoral races happening across Illinois.
For the first conversation in the series, we checked in with the race taking place at the capital city of Springfield. City Treasurer Misty Buscher is looking to deny incumbent Mayor Jim Langfelder a third, four-year term.
Both candidates and a journalist who's been following the story joined us to discuss policy platforms, how people in Springfield are talking about the election, and more.
"What ideas do you have for attracting brand new jobs downstate, and in what industries?”
“Yeah, actually we saw that under the Blagojevich Administration and with the Rauner administration that came later. We went two years without a state budget which was devastating. They owed our medical community over a hundred million dollars which we were right in the limelight of having hundreds of millions of dollars of projects halted. And then you back that up with the pandemic. So it’s been very challenging. Thanks to Governor Pritzker, I must say, he has followed through with his work trying to make the capital city measurable to other capital cities, so anybody that visits Springfield, you go around the complex and see what work’s being done.. and that’s transitional for that area. But also the medical community, and we’re one of the top places to be post-pandemic. Coming out of the pandemic, it’s largely due to our medical area and how I approach economics or development even from 2015.. we should build upon what we have.. our strengths.. like the medical community. You look at other sections.. like state government, or energy, or technology. We have LRS which is a global company.. they could have gone anywhere in the world and they chose to invest $25 million in a campus here in Springfield. So we have a lot of companies that way, so we’ll build on the ones that we have like the Brandt’s and Bunn’s, agriculture, and really bring in industries or partnerships that complement those. Because you can grow what we have and make it stronger. But in the meantime we are talking to other entities that look for Springfield, and it’s our appeal, since our housing market’s strong, our technology’s strong. Our ability to work remote because of our utility and broadband fiber that we have.. as well as the medical community. So the important concept is to build on what we have, and on those suppliers, and on those partners and those private sectors that can build upon that. And then we are attracting others due to the attractiveness of being in the midwest and what we already have here.”
“Well I would like to approach the subject of not having a state budget and the pandemic because every city in Illinois had those same exact circumstances.. We are not alone. And there are cities who have seen growth that we have not seen. Such as the Rivian Factory and things like that. So we need to do a better job. This mayor has had eight years to go and sell Springfield. So I have made a commitment to go sell Springfield to ancillary services of businesses that we already have in Springfield. I have already talked to an owner of a company, and I went to them and I said, “Who do you do business with and how do I get them here? How do I get a conversation with them to find out why they are not in Springfield, and how do I get them to Springfield?” And the business owner said, “Misty, you are the very first elected official in the city to ask me that question.” I will be a leader for this community. I will go out and I will sell this community. We have the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, and I will be an ambassador with them to go out and seek industries for our city. The industries that we need to focus on.. we need a wide variety of industries. I have already publicly said that we need more tech jobs. We do not have enough tech jobs and tech is the future of the world. We have to focus on medical technology. We need to focus on manufacturing, and it wouldn't hurt to have some sort of a warehouse here. We are centrally located in a wonderful position to have that, and that is something that I as mayor, I will sell us.”