With the primary election just days away, the candidates for Erie Mayor face off as all three democratic candidates take part in a forum at the studios of JET 24/FOX 66.
He wants a second term, but Mayor Joe Schember’s biggest challenge is coming from his own party. He’s opposed by Tom Spagel, a businessman and Erie School Board member.
Mayor Schember is also opposed by Sydney Zimmermann, a canvasser for the social justice group Erie County United.
“I have no problem with being challenged. It’s allowed me to work a little harder and it’s also forced me to do a lot of door-to-door, which is my favorite thing to do in campaigning, just going out and meeting with democrats.” Mayor Schember said.
“I want to be able to increase the quality of life for all of our citizens in Erie, but most importantly, the children need educated and better opportunities. I want to make sure that Erie stays out of financial distress.” Spagel said.
“We haven’t been doing right by folks inside of our city and our children are included in that. I think that we need to make sure that we’re respecting folks whether they’re from a low socioeconomic background or not, which is why I’m here to represent all in Erie.” Zimmermann said.
Thursday night’s topics included: taxes, pandemic recovery and downtown development as well as the current state of race relations.
“Not too long ago, we were voted the worst city for African-Americans to live in. Since then, I haven’t seen a lot of community outreach to, especially our Black and Brown communities to say ‘How can we make Erie more livable for you.” Zimmermann said.
“In the last four years, there has not been one minority hired within the police department or within the firefighters. In our business, we invested in diversity and when I become mayor, I will do the same for the City of Erie.” Spagel said.
“We have hired minorities in both police and fire and, in fact, increased the number of minorities that take the police and fire test. Erie’s about 30% minorities and our goal was to get to 30%. On police test, we got to 33%.” Mayor Schember said.
You can catch the forum in its entirety by clicking below.