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ALTON, Ill. — It’s been an unusual journey for David Goins. He served as the pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Alton, Illinois, and spent 20 years on the city’s police force.

Then, in April, he made history as Alton’s first African American mayor.

Goins talked to FOX 2’s Elliott Davis about what he wants to accomplish in his new role. Topping the list is revitalizing neglected neighborhoods and keeping his city safe.

He said there were a few surprises when he became mayor. First, he discovered a multi-million dollar budget hole, caused largely by underfunded public employees’ pensions.

Goins said besides the budget, there are other issues facing the city like the unemployment rate, which is 8.5%. Plus, more than 200 businesses closed or left Alton amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said the city never completely recovered, but he is confident that he can turn things around.

“In other words, I’m not afraid of obstacles and I’m not afraid of challenges,” he said.

Goins believes his experience as a pastor and a police officer will continue to guide him in this position. He will step down as pastor at the end of the year.