Longtime Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst announces run for mayor
Springfield City Council member Justin Hurst has announced his bid for mayor. The five-term, at-large councilor said the "time is right" for him to aim for the city's top job.
"I know I can do the job. I know the residents of Springfield are looking for a leader who is a change agent, a leader who has a vision," he said. "Someone who's innovative and who really understands the realities that the residents of Springfield are facing and is willing to sift through the issues that we are struggling with."
Hurst — who is a lawyer, small business owner and former educator — has served on the City Council since 2013, twice as president.
He said running a campaign for an at-large seat representing all the city neighborhoods has prepared him for the coming months campaigning.
"Being at-large, you obviously have to maneuver across many neighborhoods in the city," he said. "It's not much different, although we need to be a bit more strategic in terms of how it is that we run this race. We need to make sure that it's inclusive. There are a number of people that are complacent, you know, and have given up on government as they see it."
Hurst said he hopes to "reinvigorate city residents" by promoting economic development and fighting for social justice.
"There are residents who are struggling to make ends meet. They are struggling to pay their taxes, which have gone up year after year. They're struggling to find housing. They're struggling to pay the rent," he said. "And so the question is: How can we really invest in the residents in a meaningful way?"
He will face off against Domenic Sarno, who has been Springfield's mayor since 2007, making him the city's longest-serving mayor. In an email Sarno said he plans to run for re-election and will make his announcement "at the appropriate time."
According to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Hurst has $23,809 in campaign contributions, while Sarno has $173,169 in his coffers.