The four men running for mayor will inherit a mixed legacy from incumbent Larry Morrissey, who is not seeking re-election. During Sunday’s debate, candidates were asked how they would improve upon Morrissey’s 12 years of office.
Republican candidate Brian Leggero says a new party in office and improvements on infrastructure will create a fresh start. “We haven’t had a republican mayor here in Rockford for close to half a century, how has that been working for us Rockford?” he asked. “The one main thing is our roads and infrastructure, we need to create a standard for all the roads,” he added.
Democratic candidate Tom McNamara says that if elected, he plans to improve upon blight and for-closed residential areas seen in the city. “I’ve partnered with the realtors to help develop a new program to help tackle a significant issue in our community,” McNamara said.
“The for-closed and abandoned homes that are havens for criminal activity and also decrease all of our property values, to create a residential rebate program to attract new residents to our city so that all of our community is lifted up,” he added.
Ronnie Manns, running as an independent, says he wants to build upon Mayor Morrissey’s goal for Rockford to innovate. “The idea to use those from Rockford to fix the issues of Rockford,” Manns said. “Who better knows what’s wrong with your house than you, because you live there,” Manns said.
Rudy Valdez, also running as an independent believes he can improve Rockford financially by injecting more fiscal responsibility into the budgeting process. “(If) We stop pushing the deficit from one year to the next, kicking the can down the road, we’re actually going to be able to do more for public safety, for vibrant neighborhoods, and for new business growth,” Valdez said.
The election for Rockford’s next mayor is tomorrow, April 4th.