Rockford’s 3rd Ward Alderman Tom McNamara received a standing ovation at Prairie Street Brewhouse Tuesday night, when he announced that he is running for mayor.
The Democrat has served as alderman since 2013. His father John was mayor of the Forest City from 1981-1989
McNamara says, “We need representative government that puts our people first. We need to have creative solutions and utilize our people. We have tremendous people in the City of Rockford who want to come together, [and] want to make an impact.”
He’s going up against Independent candidate Rudy Valdez, and Republican 6th Ward Alderman, Pam Connell. All three say curbing violent crime in the Forest City is a top priority.
Both Valdez and Connell have experience overseeing multimillion dollar budgets, and they feel that can help Rockford climb out of its projected deficit, which is expected to be in the millions, as early as next year.
Valdez says, “I’ve run organizations. I’ve had seven different plant sites [which] I was responsible for, with the budget of a half of billion dollars. So there are a lot of things that I have, a lot of skills.”
Connell says, “I first started out in the airline industry, so I handled the crew scheduling department. I was hired [to oversee] all the pilots, and all the contracts for the hotels, so we had numerous hotels across the United States that had huge contracts out there.”
They are the only declared candidates from their respected parties so far, but all three say they are open to competition.
Current Mayor Larry Morrissey has not decided on if he will run for re-election. An announcement is expected after Labor Day.