The two candidates running to be Butler’s next mayor discussed the anti-discrimination ordinance during a debate Tuesday night.
Democrat Jamie Lee Goehring said city officials needs to do a better job at educating residents on exactly what this ordinance means. She refused to say whether or not she would vote for or against the measure if elected.
“As a politician, I can not just speak to what I want. I need to speak to what my community wants. I need the opportunity to speak to my community through a forum where both sides are present,” she said.
Republican Ben Smith said that while he believes there is discrimination happening in the City of Butler, he would vote against the ordinance because the majority of residents he has spoken to oppose it.
“The overwhelming majority of the people in our community are opposed to it,” Smith said. “I hesitate to think putting a committee in place that will hear cases and basically be a mediator will solve any real problems.”
The ordinance states it would provide equal opportunities regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. It would also create a Human Relations Commission that would be a group of 5 to 7 volunteers (non-elected officials) that would meet with people who feel they were discriminated against. The ordinance has been tabled since July.