CHICAGO (CBS) — West suburban Aurora’s race for mayor is pitting two experienced government officials against each other in a debate about the future of the city and its past.
Both At-Large Alderman Richard Irvin and Assistant Aurora Chief of Staff Rick Guzman said they represent the next level of progress for Aurora. WBBM’s political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.
At large Alderman Richard Irvin, an attorney, finished first in Aurora’s February Primary.
“You know I think the message that resonated with the majority of our voting citizens here in Aurora, is that they wanted to see change in our city, they want to see us progress and prosper,” Ald. Irvin said.
Irvin says he represents change.
“Economic development, we need more jobs in the city of Aurora. We need more economic streams, more revenue streams in Aurora, and more businesses. We need more people moving to the city and the way to get that is to make sure we keep a check on crime,” Irvin said. “Aurora in the past has had a reputation of being gang-banging, drug-dealing, drive-by shooting kind of town. We are not that. We have worked hard over the last 10 years while I’ve been on the city council, to change the image and perception of the city.
But Guzman said Irvin has never held an executive government position, though he runs a law office. Irvin said Guzman has been an assistant, never a Chief of Staff.
Guzman, Assistant Chief of Staff for the city, said people see him as a continuation of progress. He’s a first-time candidate.
“We were able to make up an incredible amount of ground. And in fact, I think that if the primary election would have been a week or two later we probably would have come out on top,” Guzman said. “For us right now, the goal is to continue that momentum.”
Guzman said he represents the next generation.
“It doesn’t mean that some of the problems or challenges we have are going to not be addressed in different ways,” Guzman said. “What it does mean is we are going to learn from the past, understand how it is that Aurora went from being recognized 15-20 years ago – a city with disproportionately high crime rates to now one that has significantly lower than average crime rates for a city like ours.”
Both mayoral candidates agree Aurora has the resources to make even more progress.
Whoever wins the race will make history. Richard Irvin would be Aurora’s first African American mayor. Guzman is half Filipino and of Spanish descent.