Lawrence mayoral race puts police officers, firefighters in middle

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LAWRENCE, Ind. (Nov. 2, 2015) -- Police officers and firefighters are in the middle of what could be a close election in the city of Lawrence.

"Lawrence kind of always fires up when we get around to election time," candidate Steve Collier said.

That's as true now as it has ever been as Lawrence, next door to Indianapolis, gets ready to elect its Mayor.

Collier, a Republican and city council member, is challenging sitting Democratic Mayor Dean Jessup in a race that has divided the city. Both sides have placed campaign ads online and on television, hitting on the big issues of public safety and city finances.

In 2012, a year after Jessup took office, the city laid off more than 20 EMT's and trained firefighters to do those jobs instead. Jessup cited a $2M deficit and previous administration for the decision. Many of the EMT's have since been hired back.

Those issues drove a wedge into the city, however. Both the police and fire unions in Lawrence endorsed Collier for Mayor.

Mayor Jessup's campaign manager told CBS4 the Mayor was too busy to do an interview Monday. The Mayor did post to Facebook, accusing the Collier campaign of negativity, saying "it frustrates me to no end to see others tear our city down."

In an interview last month on IN Focus, Jessup said he has put Lawrence on the right path.

"We need to complete what we’ve started. We’ve grown a lot in the last four years. We need to keep moving forward," Jessup said.

As for Collier, he spoke to CBS4 at a city council meeting Monday night, responding to the claim of negativity in the campaign and saying he believes Lawrence needs someone new.

"Sometimes the truth hurts, you know, and all we've told is the truth. ... We need to have some transparency on what’s being spent and how it’s being spent," Collier said.

To see interviews with both candidates and read more about their campaigns, go to the IN Focus article at this link.

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