New Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli focused on uniting community

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — From Rockford City Council to the Winnebago County Board, Rockford native Joe Chiarelli was sworn in as chairman of the board Monday night.

He tells us what is at the top of his list of priorities.

“After the election, I really dived in without being sworn-in yet,” explained new Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli.

Chiarelli says he’s ready to hit the ground running in his new position.

“We really want to number one, work as a team. To really set our priorities as a county board and the county board chairman and use those priorities as a lens for everything we do to move this community forward,” Chairman Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli’s predecessor Frank Haney was often at odds with board members. The longtime Rockford alderman hopes to mend those relationships.

“I truly believe every county board member wants better for our community. They’re not happy with what was going on, they’re striving for better communication, better transparency,” Chiarelli explained.

One of the first challenges he will navigate is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these vaccinations coming out, how I can help in that process, to get as many people as possible vaccinated when it occurs. So we can really get this safety and health back to our community,” Chiarelli said.

After that, Chiarelli says the county should be focused on economic development.

“The only way we’re going to really get out of any ongoing budget deficits in the future years is to have future growth, and be able to draw upon that growth, so we don’t have to have to have as much burden on our taxpayers,” Chiarelli added.

Chiarelli says he’s excited to get to work.

“Today was just the point of time when I lifted my arm up and got sworn-in. I mean reality really set in. That it was real, and I’m just so excited.”

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