The Erie mayoral candidates faced off in front of a packed house Tuesday at the Jefferson Educational Society.
Republican John Persinger and Democrat Joe Schember shared their thoughts on how to best move the city the region forward. It was their first one-one-one debate with each other.
Schember said, “I’m going to implement a cultural change in City Hall. It’s going to become a service culture, a group of employees who are dedicated to helping Erie residents. “
Persinger responded, “This next election is about leadership. Who’s going to bring the new energy and the new ideas into City Hall to end nearly 60 years of decline to get the city growing again.”
Tackling crime is a big part of turning the city around. He added, “Broken Windows Theory says that when you have a broken window in your neighborhood, it attracts crime and we’ve seen that in our own neighborhoods.”
Schember said, “The police should build relationships with the community to get to know them like they’re doing through the Police Athletic League already.”
But with a variety of pressing issues, what is the greatest challenge facing Erie?
Persinger believes the city needs a mayor “who’s concerned about wanting to attract jobs and business by having great educational opportunities in the city.”
Schember said, “I will help existing businesses expand. I will help entrepreneurs in Erie create new businesses.”
The JET 24/Fox 66 Erie Mayoral Forum will air on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m on JET 24.
It will also air on Fox 66 on Monday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.
The municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 2.