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Mayoral candidate meets with students

March 31, 2017

On Wednesday night, one of the candidates for mayor of Monmouth campaigned on campus. DuWayne Brooks spoke to 15 students affiliated with UMOJA in the Tartan Room of the Stockdale Center on his life, qualifications, and goals if elected mayor.

The meeting began with Brooks speaking about his campaign goals, which he reported to be “increasing equality and fairness, which our country was founded on.” After discussing how he would set up rides to the polling place on Election Day, Brooks then moved on to discussing how Monmouth used to be during his childhood. According to him, Monmouth used to be a thriving community, but is no longer as evident by places such as the downtown area. In that sentiment, Brooks used the example “If you want to dress nice, you need to go out of town to buy the clothes.” He finished that statement with “I would like to see the town come back to some resemblance to what it was years and years ago. More shops, more jobs, and more job opportunities.”

Brooks continued by discussing his other reasons for running for mayor. While he was originally going to run for the 3rd Ward Alderman seat, he was convinced by Tac Shack owner Justin Lipes to run for mayor. Lipes was originally going to run for Mayor after having issues with the city regarding his business, but decided against it and opted to support Brooks instead. Brooks continued on to describe how his faith came into play while deciding whether or not to run.

One of the topics discussed during the forum was the controversy that has occurred during his run for mayor. Brooks, who is openly gay, has been attacked through social media due to both his race and sexuality, even gaining the attention of Quad Cities station WQAD. During the forum, Brooks stated that “They are taking my race and sexual orientation and making it into a lack of qualification to be mayor.” One person posted on Facebook regarding Brooks that “I cannot vote for you because you’re gay. I do not want a gay mayor for Monmouth.” Brooks responded by stating “I wasn’t angry at the person, I was disappointed because it was someone I knew. Someone I considered to be a friend.”

After telling the audience about the issues he is focused on, the floor was opened up for questions. These ranged from race relations at the college to the poverty issues in the city and immigration regarding the recent actions taken by the Trump administration. While answering a question about what he would do for the poverty stricken neighborhoods of Monmouth, Brooks answered with “I want to bring in jobs that pay at a little above minimum wage” and that “until we can get to a point economically, I will encourage people to take advantage of the food stamp and welfare programs.” When asked about the recent immigration orders made by the Trump Administration and how the Monmouth Police Department will proceed, Brooks clarified that they “need to follow the guidelines, but we will not be searching homes and doing ID checks. I don’t want to violate anybody’s human rights.” He continued on to state “We got here on the backs of immigrants. I think that in Monmouth, we have a good opportunity to make something positive by working with immigrants and I would definitely like to do that.”

The meeting ended with a group photo and students talking one on one with the candidate. UMOJA President Kayla Adams reacted to the event by saying “I think it went pretty well. We didn’t get the turnout that we wanted, but it was an intimate which kind of made for really good questions so I’m happy. As long as it reached someone.”

Election Day will be on Tuesday, April 4th. If a student is registered on campus, they can vote at the Courthouse downtown or at the Headstart on Euclid.

Jacob Marx
Political Editor

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