Fireworks start at Freeport mayoral candidate debate and forum - – Rockford’s News Leader

Fireworks start at Freeport mayoral candidate debate and forum


With primary elections just around the corner for local races, candidates are becoming more visible.  Over the years, talking points change but when it comes to debate, you can be sure sparks will fly.

Gitz: "George, I'm sorry, you have to own it."

Gaulrapp:  "Rebuttal?  Okay, let's talk facts Jim."

Moderator:  "Alright, I think we'll call an end to that particular exchange."

Sound familiar?  That's former Mayor Jim Gitz going toe to toe with the man who took over for him back in 2005.

Both men represent the Citizens' Party. Both are looking for votes.  But they're not the only candidates involved in the debate.

Jon Staben also seeks support.  He'll appear on the peoples' party ticket.  Staben brings his business background to the table and says, that's what Freeport needs.

"I believe that I can make a difference.  I believe in small business.  Freeport needs small business, we need to be business friendly," said Staben.

Bettye Corbin also represents the Peoples' Party.  Like Staben, she comes from a background of business with no prior experience in public office.

"Our town seems to be on a slippery slope, nothing really happening and I feel with my business background and all of the experience that I have, that I could help turn this around," said Bettye Corbin, running in as a Peoples' Party candidate.

One Freeport man comes in with an open mind.  He's just thankful to have the forum, so he can decide where his vote will go.

"Great to see this kind of interest in this position.  We're in a critical juncture in the leadership in our community and we've got a lot of challenges, a lot of opportunities up ahead and we really need to hear what the perspectives are from our potential leaders," said Bruce Johnson, a Freeport resident.

There are a couple of other candidates not participating in the primary.  A write- in and an independent.  We'll learn more about them the closer we get to April 9th.

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