Eight years ago, Joyce Chilton decided to wade into the political waters to serve the people of Springfield.
With the help of her mentor, outgoing City Commissioner Orphus Taylor, Chilton was elected in 2009.
“I was looking to bridge the gap between some of the people of Springfield who feel they’re disenfranchised,” she said. “I want to serve the public. It’s definitely not for the money.”
After two terms in office, Chilton believes she can be a voice for all the people here, she said.
The most important issue facing Springfield is always jobs, Chilton said.
“The biggest thing is getting businesses in here and bringing jobs so some of our younger folks can have a future and stay here,” she said.
If re-elected, Chilton said she will continue to work with the Chamber of Greater Springfield and serve as an ambassador for the community.
“I visit different places and one of the biggest things companies look at are how are the schools, the streets and the crime,” Chilton said. “By working with the various entities, I think we can get some jobs here.”
She won’t support adding sexual orientation language to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance until the state and federal government add it to their protected classes, Chilton said. The language could hurt businesses with 15 or less employees or county offices in Springfield, she said.
“It’s not fair to and not fair for everyone,” Chilton said. “Until that happens, that’s where I stand on that.”
Springfield shouldn’t turn its red light cameras back on, she said. Chilton wants to see drivers more educated about rules of the road, possibly when they renew license plates annually, she said.
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“I don’t see putting an extra burden on people and trying to get money from them,” she said. “I don’t see taking money from the average citizen.”
Chilton wants to work with the courts and the prosecutor’s office to provide options for people who overdose in Springfield, she said, such as treatment, incarceration or pay restitution for the services. She also wants to see more money made available for more beds at local treatment facilities, she said.
City voters recently passed a temporary additional 0.4-percent income tax, worth about $6.7 million annually through 2022. City commissioners must do what they said they were going to do before deciding to renew the income tax, she said.
“Hopefully, the state won’t make too many more cuts,” Chilton said. “You don’t know how its going to be. We’ll have to wait and see.”
To address the city’s budget issues, Springfield must keep staff in place, she said, but look to cut in other areas, such as equipment.
“We have to take a serious look at it,” Chilton said.
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