Candidates debate Pitt’s job prospects

Gretchen Burns | managing editor

Tuesday night saw the first of several debates for the candidates who are running for Pittsburg City commissioner. This one was all about jobs.
Throughout the night, each candidate stressed that more jobs are needed in the city of Pittsburg.
Dave Holloman said that employers need to be brought into Pittsburg so that the city could keep the students in southeast Kansas and help the area flourish.
He said that the city of Pittsburg needs to use Pittsburg State University as an economic growth tool and should partner with PSU’s students and faculty to keep the talent the university generates in the city.
Letha Bolinger said she believes that different businesses need to be explored for the city’s profit. With those businesses would come more job opportunities for residents and students.
Chuck Munsell said she believes that small businesses throughout Pittsburg need the love of the students of Pittsburg State University.
“If those businesses could get that love, it would help improve the business community here and will help job wise for the future,” he said.
Munsell agreed with Holloman that larger companies need to be located to Pittsburg for the city to prosper, and for this to happen, the city needs to partner with PSU.
“We’re training people to move away to other cities and companies,” said Munsell. “If we could get a satellite company here, it would create more jobs for everyone here.”
Ralph McGeorge said that the city needs to be facing the same direction for business.
“We need to attract any kinds of new businesses available and find the avenues needed,” he said.
The candidates expressed their opinions toward the relationship between the city of Pittsburg and the university.
Bill Wilpen said that the relations between the two are fine, but could improve.
“The relationships between the university and Pittsburg are good, but they could use some tweaking,” said Wilpen. “The university could be more cooperative with the city, though.”
Michael Grey said that the university and city have a good relationship because PSU is the life-blood of Pittsburg.
“That institution is responsible for over 7,000 people in our community,” said Grey. “We have to learn that students and employees of the university are what keep this town going. It’s all about partnerships.”
McGeorge said that the university and city share an excellent working relationship.
“Both the city and university have put a lot of work into each other and supported each other with money that was needed,” said McGeorge. Bolinger would like to see the university work more with the community to form a better alliance.
“I’d like to see the construction students help out when renovations are made downtown,” she said. “I want to see these kids take the practical skills that they are learning and take them to the city of Pittsburg.”
Monica Murnan said she believes that a strategic plan followed by short-term and long-term goals to improve municipal infrastructure is the best way for Pittsburg to improve within five years.
“I would like to research getting some of our water supply from the aquifer below us,” she said. “The city needs more recreation facilities that are free for its citizens, like walking a bike trail.”
Candidate Cheryl Mayo wants the next five years to improve housing situations in the city.
“We need continue to bring the people in the city up,” she said. “If we improve housing situations, we will bring the city up for quality.”
Wilpen would like to see the city cleaned up and more citizens involved.
“We’ve lost the pride that goes with the city and help the people who need help,” he said.

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