UPDATE: More Blacks expected to announce candidacy
State Representative Robert Turner (D-Racine) announced last week that he is seriously considering joining the mayoral race in the wake of Mayor Gary Becker’s resignation.
Turner, a 28-year veteran of the Racine City Council, points to his experience working with four Racine mayors (Olsen, Davies, Smith and Becker) since he was first elected to the Racine Common Council in 1976. Turner left the Council in 2004.
Turner stated that he has extensive knowledge of the workings of Racine's city government, his 15-year tenure as Chairman of the Finance and Personnel Committee, and his genuine love of Racine are motivation for his decision. Representative Turner has also represented the City of Racine in the State Assembly since 1991. “I believe I not only have the tools, but the honesty and integrity to restore credibility and fiscal responsibility to the Mayor’s office in Racine,” said Turner. As of noon today, January 21, Turner has not filed his declaration for his candidacy according to a City Clerk staffer.
Turner joins a long list of candidates that are expected to jump into the mayoral race after Becker's sex scandal surfaced. Pete Karas was first to file a declaration of candidacy for Mayor, but he won't be the last. Already this afternoon, Jody Harding and Greg Helding made the trek to the City Clerk's office to join the race. It is also believed that Rep. Cory Mason might run, and others who have expressed interest include Council President David Maack, 8th District Alderman Q.A. Shakoor, II and 13th District Alderman Jame Spangenberg.
Each day that passes, the list of candidates grows longer and longer for a replacement for former Mayor Gary Becker.
The most recent name to be rumored for the top city post is Lesia Hill-Driver, the director of the Dr. John Bryant Center, located on Racine's south side.
Hill, who served on the Racine County Board for 10 years and was acknowledged by the YWCA as a Woman of Destination for her longtime community service, expressed that she could be a candidate.
Most recently she has worked as an instructor at Gateway Technical College.
A community political analyst for the Insider News said that Hill would bring a great deal of political experience to the table. “Coupled with her administrative skills and her ability to work with people makes her a candidate well worth watching.”
Another African American woman, Nola Ratliff, the former principal of Horlick High School is also exploring the possibility of seeking the position of Mayor.
Ratliff says that the city needs experienced leadership. She touts her 25 years in administration as what the city needs to get back on the right track. “Racine needs leadership that is moving the city forward in a positive and innovative way,” she said. She makes the case that Racine needs fresh leadership that has not been tainted by policies of Becker and the present administration.