Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey received a standing ovation Friday afternoon after he announced he will not run for a fourth term.
The mayor spoke of the progress the city has made since he was first elected in 2005, but his main focus was on thanking his colleagues and family for their support throughout his time in office.
“My family was the foundation, the inspiration, and the support when I first ran in 2001,” he said. “My family has been there every step of the way. And my family has grown since my first election.”
Now Rockford prepares to move forward with a new mayor for the first time in 12 years. Morrissey expressed his confidence in the city to improve on its own even after he is out of office.
“I’m thrilled to be leaving office knowing this community believes in itself,” he said.
One of the candidates for mayor is 6th Ward Republican Alderwoman Pam Connell. Connell says the city has made huge strides under Morrissey’s leadership, but she sees room for more improvement.
“Downtown definitely has grown and changed immensely,” said Connell. “However, all the outlying wards have not. So that’s an area that has been neglected that we need to really start working on.”
Connell says no matter who becomes the next mayor, they have a big job ahead of them.
“There’s a lot of work for the next mayor, a lot of work for the next aldermen. A lot of work for the city,” she said. “It’s not gonna be an easy four years for the new mayor, but it’s going to be an eventful one.”