LANSING, Mich. — It's one week before Lansing's mayoral election and Mayor Andy Schor says he's running on the same platform as 2017: city growth.
"When I run, I focus on the things that that I've done, the accomplishments over the last four years," Schor said. "And we've seen significant accomplishments. We're sitting in Rotary Park, which is a great example. We've seen tremendous development and growth, over $2 billion in jobs and investments."
Schor has spent two of his first four years in office dealing with a pandemic, and he says hes been able to "grow" Lansing by reducing healthcare costs $2.2 million annually by switching carriers and reducing "other post-employment benefits" by $80 million.
"Nothing changes on Nov. 2, or Jan. 1, I'm going to continue the work that we're doing for the city of Lansing," Schor said.
However Lansing has changed since 2017, amid the Black Lives Matter movement Schor has faced persistent criticism for a lack of equity in Lansing and in his administration. He points to his team as proof of change.
"We have incredible diversity within our cabinet, within our staff, that reflects the city of Lansing," Schor said. "And I am proud of that, we have created a whole variety of equity programs."
When asked if the criticism he's received has changed his perspective on equity, Schor said, "You know, I get criticized about a lot of things, as most politicians and most mayors do. That's part of governing is listening to the voices. So I always listen to the voices of the people, whether they like what we're doing, whether they don't like what we're doing... and you know, we listen, and we govern."
The past year has been a record year for gun violence in Lansing.
When asked what he's done to combat the violence and what more he'd like to do, Schor said, "We have created a three point plan really, of prevention, reform and enforcement.
"So first, we want to make sure that there are things for people to do, especially our youth," he said. "The second point is when someone starts down the wrong path, trying to reform them before they do something that's irreversible. And then the third point is enforcement. We have added five new police officers in the last few months. We've added 10 while I've been mayor. We have initiated these plans, and this is going to be the plan moving forward."
One final hurdle in Schor's promise for growth will likely be the aftermath of the pandemic. The state is planning to have less office space and fewer workers downtown, something the city relies on.
To support downtown businesses, Schor said, "we're pushing the state for some dollars, for some COVID relief dollars, that we can use to assist many of our small businesses. We certainly want to see significantly more residents in our downtown, we've always wanted to see that. So we're going to use this as an opportunity to see if we can convert office space into more housing."
Schor says a second term as mayor would look a lot like his first term: a focus on job growth, neighborhoods and equity.
"I asked all the voters to look at my record for the last four years, to look at what we've done getting through the pandemic and growing the city," Schor said. "Then cast your vote for Andy Schor on Nov. 2."
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. FOX47 will have live coverage as the ballots are counted.
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