© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics & Government

Andy Schor | 2021 Lansing Mayoral Candidates On The Issues

Andy Schor wearing a suit, smiling, in front of a mural
Courtesy Andy Schor
/
Mayor Andy Schor was first elected to lead the city by voters in 2017.

Lansing's primary election is coming up on Aug. 3. Six candidates are running to become the city's mayor. The nonpartisan primary will narrow down the number of candidates before the general election.

WKAR is speaking to each one of them about why they're running and the biggest issues Lansing faces in the next few years.

Mayor Andy Schor was first elected by voters to lead the city in 2017. He is now running for a second term. Schor shared with WKAR's Sophia Saliby his elevator pitch on why voters should choose him.

Interview Transcript

2107_mayoral_schor_full_web_01.mp3
WKAR's Sophia Saliby interviews Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

Sophia Saliby: This is All Things Considered on WKAR. I'm Sophia Saliby.

Lansing's primary election is coming up on Aug. 3. Six candidates are running to become the city's mayor. The nonpartisan primary will narrow down the number of candidates before the general election.

WKAR is speaking to each one of them about why they're running and the biggest issues Lansing faces in the next few years.

Joining me today is Mayor Andy Schor. He is running for another term after first being elected by Lansing voters in 2017. Thank you for joining me.

Andy Schor: Thanks for having me, Sophia.

Saliby: So, why are you the right person to continue to lead the city?

Schor: Sure, well, it's been an interesting four years. We have gotten a significant amount accomplished. Coming in four years ago, certainly, we've seen significant growth of our city, and we've also been able to get through the pandemic coming out even stronger. So, another four years of growing the city is my plan, and I look forward to the next four years here in Lansing.

Another four years of growing the city is my plan, and I look forward to the next four years here in Lansing.

Saliby: A major issue in the past year has been reforming policing. What are your plans to reform policing in the city? And would that include some sort of defunding the force in some capacity?

Schor: We've taken significant action already, as I'm the mayor, to change around some things. We are no longer pulling over for equipment failures and pretextual [stops]. We've done significant trainings, racial sensitivity and bias [and] de-escalation. I think we've taken the steps that we need to take. We've put social workers embedded within our police department. We were the first city in the state to do that.

I am not supportive of reducing funding to our police department. In fact, we have added five new officers, and I do believe that we need more patrols on the streets because of the significant crime that we're seeing coming out of the pandemic.

Saliby: Along with that, what are the biggest issues involving racial equity in the city and how do you plan to address them?

Schor: We had a very long report. We had a whole process through our Mayor's Racial Justice and Equity Alliance where we brought together experts. We engaged the community. We talked in town halls and online and on Zoom about a variety of the issues. We've done an internal and external scan, and now we'll be implementing a lot of those suggestions and recommendations.

We put money aside for this. So that way, it's not just a plan on a shelf, but it's a plan that we can activate. And we're going to start with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board that can work through the plan over the next few years, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

Saliby: In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has worsened financial inequalities for Lansing residents, as it has across the country, how would you stop the most vulnerable from being left behind?

Schor: Well, we've been able to do a lot of work in that area. We have provided significant dollars for rental assistance. We provided significant dollars for mortgage assistance. We've helped small businesses, [and] we have done that with equity. We have implemented what are called "neighborhoods of focus," where we're providing resources for those that need them the most. We're doing a lot of work through our Office of Financial Empowerment.

All of these resources that we put out to the city of Lansing ensures that those who need the help the most are getting the help the most. We're going to continue to do that. We have a basic human needs fund that provides resources for those who are at risk. We're going to continue to put millions of dollars into helping out Lansing's struggling citizens because as we grow the city, we have to grow it for everybody making sure that everyone can participate in that growth.

Saliby: Lansing faces hundreds of millions of dollars in underfunded pension and retiree health care costs. How would you continue to address this problem if reelected?

Schor: We've taken that head on also. We've been able to make some changes by combining some plans for healthcare to reduce our retiree health care obligations. We've reduced it several hundred millions of dollars over the lifetime. We're going to continue to work with our unions and to work through the city to reduce the obligations. We've changed amortization periods. We have reduced the timeline.

So, we're taking a lot of steps getting into the weeds on making sure that that we can pay the obligations that we've made but also provide services to city residents. We reduced the total unfunded liability, and we're going to continue to do that moving forward. It's tremendously important that we are able to pay the pensions that we have committed, and yet still provide city services using those limited dollars.

Saliby: And in this last minute that we have here, I'll give you a moment to give kind of your elevator pitch to voters about why they should vote for you on the Aug. 3 primary?

Schor: Sure, well, they should vote for me, and I would ask for the vote of all of your listeners, because we've been able to do a lot of work [and] a lot of growth over the last four years and get the city through the pandemic, but there's a lot more work to do. You know, I continue to focus on growing our city through strong neighborhoods [and] growing our city by ensuring that we are having job growth and investments. We have over $2 billion of investments ongoing right now.

I continue to focus on growing our city through strong neighborhoods [and] growing our city by ensuring that we are having job growth and investments.

[We're] making sure that we have the city services that people need: fixing roads and putting money into sidewalks for the first time, working with our regional partners, healing relationships and working with our schools, and making sure that we're advancing diversity, inclusion and equity for all as we do all of this, to make sure that that everybody can contribute and receive the benefit of our growth of our city.

There's a lot of work to do, and I'm excited to continue to do it. I ask for your votes on August 3, and you can check out my website at andyschor.com which has our full 35-page vision plan for the future.

Saliby: Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is running for reelection. Thank you for joining me.

Schor: Thank you, Sophia.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Related Content
News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.