Ward 5 encompasses the general area between South 42nd and 55th streets of Springfield. This is the only contested Springfield City Councilor race in May.

Chronicle: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing your ward, and how will you ensure your ward is well-represented in the council’s decision-making process?

Doyle: One of the biggest challenges over the next year will be the Main Street Safety Project which could negatively affect many of the businesses in my ward. I have been actively participating in meetings and with affected businesses and will continue to be an advocate for my ward and all of Springfield.

Molina: The biggest challenges and opportunities facing my ward are the budget constraints post-pandemic, the ongoing housing crisis and the extreme changes to Main Street if the Main Street Safety Project is enacted by the City Council. I will ensure that any budget decisions made reflect the needs of the totality of the constituency of Ward 5. I will ensure that middle-income housing is made available for young families and those seeking home ownership. I will also ensure that Main Street is not negatively affected by the proposed changes of adding 9 roundabouts and taking sidewalk and driveway access to businesses.

Chronicle: What is the first piece of business you will advocate for and hope to accomplish as a city councilor? 

Doyle: Over the years, the #1 issue that comes up time and again is that people feel they are not informed of city activities that affect their neighborhood or business. I want to see if changes can be made to whatever process is being used. I also want to lend my Land Use and Development experience to the new code amendments that seek to remove barriers to development and hopefully start getting more housing choices and availability.

Molina: My first piece of business to advocate for and hope to accomplish as a city councilor is to ensure the underrepresented and marginalized communities are invited to participate and have their voices and concerns heard, acknowledged and addressed in the policy-making of the city. This includes any constituents of Ward 5 who feel they have been left out and ignored in what their stated needs are.

Chronicle: Identify specific infrastructure improvements needed in your ward and how you plan to address them.  

Doyle: Stay involved in the different phases of the 2019 GO Bond that I spearheaded as a budget committee member to keep repairing streets throughout Springfield. Because I am currently employed with Public Works, I have an in-depth understanding of city infrastructure (sewer, storm and public rights-of-way) and how they all interact and rely on each other. Having been on the Springfield budget committee, I have an established relationship with staff at MWMC (Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission). This experience will be helpful and is necessary to being a good councilor.

Molina: There are many streets in Ward 5, as well as the city, that are in significant disrepair. That would be a priority for the maintenance crews to address. I want to ensure that the roundabouts proposed in the Main Street Safety Project are not imposed upon the businesses and constituents in the Ward and those who access our business district via that particular portion of the access routes.

Chronicle: What steps will you take to gain the trust of the citizens you will represent?

Doyle: A) Being honest. I may not always be able to vote the way everyone wants, but I will stand by the decision and be able to explain my position. B) Being available and visible to those I serve.

Molina: I will gain the trust of the citizens by actually responding to the emails they send to me. I will call them if they ask for a phone call. I will meet with them if they ask for a meeting with their elected councilor. I will come to events of businesses in our Ward and promote their products and services to bring economic success to their endeavors. I have served in multiple positions as a volunteer in this city for over 2 decades. I have proven my sincere desire to serve those who live in our city. 

Chronicle: What are concrete goals you have for bolstering equity and inclusion within local city government?

Doyle: Continue Mayor Lundberg’s Mayors Blue Ribbon Panel to help advance equity in Springfield. The goal was to create a panel to review policy and provide recommendations within policing, city government and community wide. Her goal was to have concrete actions, both short and long term, to address systemic racism, advance equity, and maintain our desire to be a welcoming community for everyone.

Molina: I will bolster equity and inclusion within the local city government by engaging with those seeking an audience with their elected leadership. I will extend to them an offer for a summit to bring together those who are feeling fearful and shut out from their city processes and policy making. I will seek out the disenfranchised communities.

– Compiled by Erin Tierney

Read Molina's column here ... Read Doyle's column here.