Question & Answer

The following is from a recent RR Star article.

1. Are you from Rockford? If so, what neighborhood did you grow up in? How did growing up in Rockford influence you? If not, what brought you to Rockford and when?

I grew up in Rockford on Spring Creek Road, near Anderson Gardens. Rockford’s influence on my life has been primarily manifested through my desire to care for Rockford’s at-risk youth. As I was prepared to move back to Rockford after law school and start a family, I was drawn to dedicate myself to those at-risk youths. That dedication has taken the shape of my continued involvement, as a board member, with local charities – Stateline Youth for Christ and Shatter our Silence.

2. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

I am an avid history buff. I love learning about world history as well as American history. I spend much of my driving time listening to history podcasts and audiobooks and have been building my physical library since college. I am also a huge Bass fisherman and spend a lot of time in the spring and the summer fishing with my wife, brother, sister, and uncle.

3. Describe a time when you thought one way but were convinced to change your mind.

Throughout my life, I have encountered many occasions where my mind was changed as a result of a compelling argument. The most meaningful of these occasions was when my father convinced me to attend Kansas State University. I was adamant about staying home and attending Rock Valley until I had a better understanding of what I would like to do with my life. While there is no problem whatsoever with attending Rock Valley (many of my friends did), moving away to attend Kansas State as a freshman was one of the best decisions of my life – a decision that has and will continue to benefit me throughout my life.

4. Why do you want to become an alderman?

In my final year of law school, I began to think about my future in Rockford and what I would like to accomplish. After much thought, I realized that I wanted to make an impact on our city rather than simply comment on it passively. I began this endeavor by reaching out to Youth for Christ and offering to do what I could to raise money for the organization – this led to my placement on YFC’s board of directors. As a person with a passion for our local community and for politics, my natural next inclination was toward public service. I reached out to the local republican party and offered my services, hoping to serve my community however I could. After spending time as a precinct committee person, I expressed interest in doing more, and Alderman seemed to be the perfect fit.

5. Why would you be a better choice than the current alderman?

Simply put, my passion for my community and my dedication to serving my neighbors will allow me to apply my strong work ethic toward a never-ceasing effort to improve the Second Ward and Rockford as a whole. I am a hard worker and care deeply for the clients I serve on a daily basis. That same passion will be applied to my time as Alderman. I am not one to speak of why my opponent should not be elected, but to highlight why I should be. Nothing highlights that fact more than my relentless passion for Rockford and my dedication to applying my private sector work ethic to public service.

6. How do you feel about Rockford and why?

I love Rockford, but I definitely see room for improvement. I have spent my whole life here (outside of college and law school) and intend to be here for a long time to come. That said, no community is perfect and Rockford certainly has its share of issues. Crime and high taxes have plagued our city for far too long and while it seems like every politician mentions these two issues, far too little has been done to resolve them. It is my passion for my hometown that has sparked my desire to continue to improve it. I am a fifth-generation Rockfordian and my son will be a sixth – it is my hope that I can leave him a safer, kinder, and wealthier community.

7. What are Rockford’s major strengths?

Rockford’s major strengths, like that of many communities in the upper midwest, are the passion of its citizens and the infrastructure of its past. We have an abundance of caring and dedicated citizens who want nothing more than to better their community. Couple this with our history of a thriving working-class and an abundance of underutilized buildings and infrastructure, and you see a Rockford with a wealth of potential. We need to harness our resources, encourage economic growth and help pave the way for that historical working class to make a comeback of a lifetime.

8. What are Rockford’s major challenges and what do you plan to do about them as alderman (List and explain your top three in a few sentences each)?

A) Unnecessarily high crime. Rockford has suffered for far too long under the specter of high crime. Fighting high crime rates starts with the passion of individual neighborhoods and the ability of our law enforcement to properly advance their goals. We need neighborhoods that are willing to work with the police and police who are willing to work with the neighborhoods. As Alderman, I hope to facilitate a coherent and effective relationship between these two vital elements of our collective safety. I will work with members of each of the second ward’s precincts to bring their concerns to the police and I will work with the police to encourage proper training and emphasis on the areas that need it the most. I want to encourage a symbiotic relationship between the communities and the police and reinforce the idea that the police are here to protect and serve the citizenry.

B) Economic Growth. Rockford has a history of a thriving middle class. That history has been stymied in recent decades by an unfriendly business environment. Some of this environment is the doing of Springfield, but some of it can be addressed locally. I will work with my fellow City Councilmembers, Winnebago County Board, and the state government toward providing the Second Ward with adequate infrastructure to encourage the addition of shovel ready jobs, to manage our budget in a fiscally conservative fashion, and to provide any tax incentives possible to potential job creators that may be interested in bringing money into Rockford. Economic growth has been a substantial challenge to Rockford, but through good governance, this too can be overcome.

C) Infrastructure. Proper infrastructure is key to the growth of any community. As an attorney, I have observed how our roads and sidewalks are not only inconvenient but can easily become a liability for taxpayers. Beyond the trouble individual citizens may have with our failing roads and sidewalks, new businesses are discouraged by those inadequacies. Each alderman is given a set budget to address infrastructure and so the impact each alderman has on a given year is limited. That said, each alderman owes a duty to their constituency to analyze the need of each street and sidewalk to determine what should be addressed first and how it should be addressed effectively. Rockford, like all midwest towns, suffers from harsh winters, but that is no excuse to allow our vital sidewalks and roadways to fall into disrepair. I will work to most efficiently address the needs of the citizenry and business interest alike in the Second Ward.