Q&A with John Laesch where he answers questions regarding COVID 19, the impact the Pandemic has had on Aurora, Economic development, and what his plans for the city would be as Mayor.
Aurora’s three mayoral candidates in the April 6 election traded barbs while discussing their philosophies about future development in the city.
Incumbent Mayor Richard Irvin, and challengers Ald. Judd Lofchie, 10th Ward, and John Laesch, faced off this week during a candidates night sponsored and moderated by the Citizens of Metea, Waubonsie Valley Youth & Government, as well as student civic leaders from East and West Aurora high schools.
All three talked about economic development in the city, but they had different ideas on how to go about it.
An Aurora mayoral candidate forum Monday, March 1 through the Zoom video conference platform, allowed viewers to learn more about the three candidates seeking the job as mayor of Aurora for the next four years. An election will be Tuesday, April 6. The candidates are Aurora mayor Richard Irvin, Judd Lofchie, and John Laesch.
We speak with Aurora mayoral candidate John Laesch, union carpenter and community activist, about his challenge to Aurora mayor Richard Irvin in the upcoming April 6 election. Part II of II.
Jeff Ward interviews mayoral candidate John Laesch, union carpenter and community activist, about his challenge to Aurora mayor Richard Irvin in the upcoming April 6 election. Part I of II.
AURORA, IL — Ahead of the April 6 consolidated municipal elections, Aurora Patch provided questionnaires to all mayoral candidates on the ballot.
Laesch, a union carpenter since 2005, recently served for one term on the East Aurora District 131 school board.
Watch the three candidates for the mayor of Aurora take part in a joint interview with a representative of the Daily Herald Editorial Board. The one-hour exchange between incumbent Richard Irvin, Alderman Judd Lofchie and former East Aurora Unit District 131 board member John Laesch was recorded on Zoom Feb. 19. The election takes place on April 6. Mail-in voting begins March 10, with early in-person voting to follow soon after.
Laesch said the city is “witnessing a failure of leadership right now when it comes to the insecurities we are facing.” He laid out a number of things he would do as mayor. One of them is to restore the budget for youth services in the city budget, and “build better relationships with other non-profits and governing bodies like the Fox Valley Park District, our schools, and the Aurora Township government to provide safe places for kids to go after school ...” He pointed out that in 2007, the city’s youth services budget was about $1.4 million, and is about $450,000 today.
The city has cut youth services in its budget, but has instead used programs like block grant funds and quality of life grants to finance existing youth programs in the city. Laesch said he would address what he said is Aurora’s 12% poverty rate through “living wage job creation for people who live and work in our city.” He said work also needs to be done restoring trust between the police and community.
He has proposed changes in training, as well as supporting a residency requirement for new hires in the police department, and a program to recruit police cadets from Aurora schools“ so the next generation of APD officers come from Aurora, care about Aurora and reflect the cultural diversity of our city.”
Irvin’s failure to recuse himself has put him in a position to uphold the law and rule against Woerman’s “40% residency” or do what is in the best interest of “the team” and the corrupt pay-to-play system in city hall.”
Ron Woerman's brother and business partner Russell Woerman donated $12,340 to Irvin's campaign in 2016 and 2017.
“It’s corruption, plain and simple,” Laesch replied.
Aurora creates police Civilian Review Board in response to calls for reform: ‘We heard the public loud and clear’
John Laesch, a candidate for mayor, asked the council to table its vote on the ordinance to bring something back with more teeth. He, as did many others speaking at the council this week, said the board should hire its own investigator and have the power to subpoena and interview witnesses independently.
“I would hope that the board would be able to have more independence and power,” said Aurora resident Vincent Gaddis.
Arjun Nair, a 10th Ward resident and aldermanic candidate, called the proposal “a little bit of a toothless board.”
Former East Aurora School Board member John Laesch, who is running for mayor in the April 2021 election, said the Aurora Civilian Police Review Board should be fully independent with its own budget and the authority to make decisions.
“The fact that its an appointed board, riding along with the recommendations from the department’s own internal investigation, just makes it easy for critics to call it a rubber-stamped board,” Laesch said. In order to get a diverse group of people on the board from all socioeconomic backgrounds, Laesch said paying members a small stipend would help. Some potential members could be faced with choosing between working a night shift and attending a meeting, he said.
Aurora residents speak with police officials about civilian review board, traffic stops, training during listening session
Former East Aurora School Board member John Laesch, who is running for mayor in the April 2021 election, said the new Civilian Police Review Board that is under discussion should not have appointed members but should instead have an elected board.
The members should have no ties to the police department, police union or be a retired police officer, Laesch said. The board needs subpoena power and a budget that allows them to hire an investigator to work for the board, and Its findings should be binding, he said.
In an interview, Laesch said addressing the causes of unrest could include spending to combat systemic racism and poverty and provide jobs. He cited recent examples in Aurora where police response was necessary and appropriate but said the department could move in a new direction.
“At some point, we have to decide - are we going to use our resources, the taxpayer resources, to address the root problems? Or are we going to continue to offer the Band-Aid solution?” he said.
John Laesch, right, Saturday explains his reasons for his bid to run for mayor of Aurora in the February 23, 2021 primary election. The announcement was outside of Aurora City Hall on the Water Street Mall during a slight drizzle. Aldermanic candidates are Arjun Nair, left, in the 10th Ward and Saul Fultz in the 7th Ward.
They have stopped short of forming a slate, but Laesch said they are running unofficially together, and are hoping more candidates will join. All three held an event in front of Aurora City Hall Saturday, with supporters braving the rain and the pandemic to attend.
They talked Saturday about the city pushing intervention programs, addressing root causes of crime and developing a green economy for Aurora with living-wage jobs.
John Laesch is the second person to announce he is running for mayor of Aurora in the April 2021 election.
He said his main reason for running is to make Aurora the epicenter of the green building movement and embrace renewable energy that would ultimately make Aurora an exporter of such energy to other cities.
Laesch also pledged to take no campaign contributions from anyone who does business with the city, which he said is “pay to play.” He also said he would take a 25% pay cut as mayor.