CAT Tracks for February 25, 2010

From the KFVS TV Channel 12 Website...

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Leading the Way: Cairo Mayor Judson Childs

By Kathy Sweeney

CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - If you're looking for positive change in Cairo, Mayor Judson Childs says look for what's not here in the city's downtown historic district.

"At one time, this was a bank, an old bank", Mayor Childs said as he pointed to an empty lot.

Cleaning up eyesores to make room for new industry has been one of Childs' key projects, since becoming mayor in May of 2007. But, Childs still battles a problem that's plagued his hometown for decades.

"Obviously we need, when you're talking about projects, money is the magic word, money," he said.

For Childs, making ends meet meant leaving Cairo for the military in the early 60s. He came back in 1966, but like so many residents today, had to leave town to find work. He spent 33 years with the Department of Corrections.

"Cairo was the place where I came on my off days and I'd spend some time here," Childs said. "But, the rest of the week, I was leaving here each morning about 6:45, going to Vienna and coming back."

While a lack of jobs still exists, Childs' presence has meant big improvements in city council chambers, where contentious meetings used to be the norm.

"People came a lot, I think, because they knew it was kind of like a three-ring circus," Childs said. "When you come here, there was some action. But now, everything is pretty calm."

Childs says he's not a politician. He does consider himself a leader, one with a clear and simple goal.

"Never give up," he said. "I will never give up."

Judson Childs is not giving up on Cairo. He says he wants to give young people something to come back home to, a city that can make everyone proud. Childs says he doesn't know yet if he'll run for a second term. He wants to leave that decision up to the people he serves.

"Realizing you can't make everybody happy, but I can do the best that I can," Childs said. "And then I'm fine. After I know that I've done the best that I can do, that's all I can do."