Candidate for Mayor of Antioch Gil Murillo, far right, gives his opening statement as his opponents, incumbent Mayor Wade Harper, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Dr. Sean Wright await their turn, and panelist Paul Burgarino looks on, and City Clerk Arne Simonsen keeps the time, at the beginning of the forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald on Tuesday night, September 20th. photo by Allen Payton
by Connie Woods, Associate Publisher
The four candidates for Mayor of Antioch gathered in the City Council Chambers to address the Antioch community during the a forum hosted by the Antioch Herald, on Tuesday, September 20th and to share their plans of how they would lead the City of Antioch if elected or re-elected. Participants included Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchok, Dr. Sean Wright, Gil Murillo and a brief appearance by Mayor Harper who spoke for a few minutes, before exiting the forum. He did not stay to answer questions, although some in the audience had already submitted a few for him.
The candidates were seated in random order and gave their opening statements. Harper was the last to offer his.
“You know, I’m tired of the biased reporting in our city by the Antioch Herald and I think it’s got to change,” he stated. “No more gotcha politics…I will not participate in a biased forum by the Antioch Herald…I am protesting this event. So, thank you for your time.”
Harper then left the dais and the Council Chambers, and did not participate in the remainder of the forum.
Each of the candidates had the opportunity to answer questions by panelist Paul Burgarino of the County Elections Office, the audience and each other, as well as offer two rebuttals, each.
Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock is a real estate agent, wife, mother of three, and a long term resident of 45 plus years of the city of Antioch who”works, play and pray in our community”. She said she has built strong relationships in the community and is very excited about new ones. “I look forward to removing the negativity from our city, one issue at a time”. Ogorchock said she is the “best person to be the face of the community”, and that she’s here, all the time and won’t be an evening mayor but will be available at all times for the community.
Regarding the budget, Ogorchock stated that she stays within the city budget. Although it is thick, and hard to read citizens can call her, the mayor or any council member if they have a question about the budget.
“I’m a team player,” she said and “want my community to be safe.”
Dr. Sean Wright, a local chiropractor and CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce believe it’s time for a leadership change. He’s worked on Economic Development with “great success” and said they’re [the Chamber] is “filling in where the holes have been in the city”. He’s proud of what the Chamber has accomplished on a budget of $180,000. He’s worked collaboratively with schools, police department, and economic development.
Wright said he wants to be the mayor “because the city lacks that leadership right now”. He spoke of the challenges of what Antioch can become and believes it to be “the diamond” of the county. Wright thinks the city budget needs to be simplified for citizens to understand and to know how money is being spent. In closing statements he said there are city problems that are unaddressed and he’s tired of the status quo. Wright spoke of the issues of crime, blight, number of police officers, and that he feels change has not occurred and he’s worked in collaboration with education, police, and regional economic development efforts with great success.
Businessman Gil Murillo wants to improve education, bring higher paying jobs, and start looking at strategic planning for the future of Antioch like how to bring business into our city. He would like to address planning for the next generation.
“Tomorrow’s economy is here today and if we don’t plan for that today we are going to miss it again,” Murillo stated. Some other important issues that he spoke of were the jobs lost, businesses shut down, and said “we need leadership; someone to be on point,” and to take ownership.
“I can’t give the 40 hour a week that Lori can,” he stated. “But what I can give is the knowledge and expertise that’s necessary for this position.”
The forum can be viewed in its entirety in October, on Delta TV (Comcast Channel 24 and AT&T U-verse on Channel 99), beginning Sunday, October 2nd and the schedule is as follows: Sundays at 5 pm, Thursdays at 2 pm and Fridays at 11 am.