Guzman, Irvin Make Their Case to Voters in Aurora Mayoral Forum

Last Wednesday, there was another forum that took place, where candidates in the Aurora mayoral race took questions from community members and West Aurora High School students. The candidates that are running to become Aurora’s next mayor are Richard Irvin and Richard Guzman. Each candidate laid out their vision for the future of Aurora. The forum covered topics ranging from economic development, immigration, crime, and the environment.

In his opening remarks, Guzman addressed the claim by his opponent, which was that he is unqualified to be Aurora’s mayor, because he is not originally from there. “While it’s true that I wasn’t born in Aurora. I would say that you don’t choose where you’re born and raised. You do choose where you wanna raise your kids. And for my wife and I 2002 was the year that we choose to move to Aurora to start a family, and put down roots,” Guzman said.

Guzman also talked about bringing people together to solve problems. “I believe that the true test of leadership is about one’s ability to bring people together, one’s ability to build consensus, and ultimately deliver results to people,” Guzman said. During his opening remarks, Irvin made the case that he took pride in being from Aurora, and how education is an important initiative for him, especially considering his background of being a teacher and a college professor.

“I think education is the key to our success in the city of Aurora… The reality is without good foundation and education, we won’t have a prepared and ready workforce to attract businesses to the city for economic development,” Irvin said. When talking about his strengths as a leader, Irvin explained that he was the good at overcoming obstacles, specifically when he was growing up in Aurora.

“I was raised in low income housing to a teenaged single mother with two boys… I went to the military and I served our country in the time of war, I got back I used the GI Bill to put myself in college, first one in my family to ever go to college,” Irvin said. “After that I went to law school, my family looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I wanted to be a lawyer, I grew up in the hood, they don’t expect this of me, but I overcame that obstacle.”

Irvin then explained how he worked with the Aurora police to bring down crime in the area, after his time as a Cook County prosecutor. His point was that he can take on the obstacles that face Aurora, if he gets elected mayor. Later, the conversation then moved onto each candidate’s top budget priorities in Aurora.

Both Guzman and Irvin had similar answers on this question. Both plan to capitalize on what Aurora already offers, specifically in regards to the downtown Riverwalk and the area around it. “We can capitalize on that build condos, track people into the city by marketing Aurora as a positive city,” Irvin said. Guzman touted the upcoming building projects that are in effect for Aurora.

“I’ve been part of helping to fill in six vacant buildings in downtown in just the past couple years that are either depleted or breaking ground this year,” Guzman said. “And one of those is the new Aurora Arts Center… Working with the Paramount Theatre and with private development that’s gonna be building new housing, a new restaurant, and a school for performing arts,” Guzman explained. Guzman also explained that all of these initiatives would bring in people from all over to Aurora.

The feeling among some Aurora residents who were in attendance was that the forum went well for both candidates. “Both candidates had some very strong points to talk about, but personally I thought that my opinions lined closely with Guzman, based on his environmental policy and proactive plans for how’s he’s going to be helping the city in the future,” West Aurora High School Senior Ally Bartell said. West Aurora Senior Marlene Raygoza said she’s still on the fence about who to vote for, but she liked Guzman’s message of bringing people together and making Aurora a more diverse city.

“Aurora is a very diverse city, and I feel like him mentioning how he wants to be more diverse within the city, I feel like that’s very important… I feel like we all can unite to become one, and I feel like that’s something he really wants to do,” Raygoza said.

This should be an interesting race to watch for in the next couple weeks leading up to the April 4th election. Both Irvin and Guzman made strong pitches to the people of Aurora on why either of them should be the next mayor of Aurora. We shall see who wins out in the next few weeks.