Justin Hurst talks trash fee, police commission at kickoff for Springfield mayoral run
Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst officially kicked off his campaign Wednesday vowing to hold city government accountable and improve the quality of life for residents.
Speaking in front of a large crowd of family, friends and supporters, Hurst said it's time for a change in the city.
"It is our time. It is our moment for change. Together, we can alter the course of history and make history at the same time," Hurst said.
If elected, Hurst would be the city's first Black mayor.
During his speech, Hurst highlighted several priorities he would have as mayor including changing the structure of the current police commission.
Hurst recounted a story where his 11-year-old son explained why his basketball team lost a game. His son cited the other team's jerseys, which on the back read "we over me" instead of the team name or individual players' names. Hurst said, if elected, he will have that same mindset.
"We will have a government that is accountable to the people it serves. As mayor, we will have a police commission that is selected by the community. We will have a transparent process where everyone has an opportunity to apply and serve," he said. "We will have a commission that acts independently and is free from political interference."
Hurst was a vocal advocate for reinstating a police commission in Springfield, joining other councilors in an ultimately successful lawsuit against Mayor Domenic Sarno. Since then, he and other councilors have expressed frustrations at Sarno's appointments of commission members.
Hurst also said he would look at eliminating the city's trash fee, improving public transportation and enforcing Springfield's residency requirement that city department heads live within the city.
Lifelong Springfield resident David Ciampi also kicked off his campaign for mayor on Wednesday. If elected, Ciampi said, he will prioritize mental health and the opioid crisis.
"We need to be able to promote solutions to a lot of the social problems that confront not only Springfield ... ways that we can reduce human suffering," said Ciampi, a mental health counselor who has never held public office. "When I talk about human suffering, I'm talking about drug dependencies, mental illness. And we have to come up with new solutions to these problems."
Sarno has said he intends to run again, but has not formally announced.
According to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, as of Jan. 2, Sarno had about $300,000 in his coffers while Hurst had $37,188. Ciampi had $158.