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Mayoral Race In Springfield Pits Incumbent Against Outsider

Warren Copeland became Springfield's first directly elected mayor in 2003. He is facing challenger Fred Stegner on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

Stegner is a retired military vet and a self-proclaimed thorn in city hall’s side. He runs the Springfield Soup Kitchen, and has dubbed Springfield, “Third World,” because of homelessness and poverty issues he says Copeland and other politicians are ignoring.

"The real problem is there hasn't been any leadership, there hasn't been any planning or direction or foresight. That's because all of the commissioners have full-time jobs," he explained. "I see the problems, I know the city, I know the people."

Copeland is a full-time professor at Wittenberg University and has been re-elected twice as mayor. He says he believes his record shows that he's been steady as a leader in Springfield.

"I've tried to work with people in the community who are trying to address some of the violence we have experienced in recent months," he said.  "But I think looking to the future the key issue for city government itself over the next year or two is going to be the budget."

Both Copeland and Stegner agree the city's finances are a key issue. Springfield lost nearly $5 million in state funding this past year.