People living in southeast Rockford have to choose between two unknowns for their new alderman. Longtime Alderman Lenny Jacobson lost the in the February primary. That leaves 6th Ward voters without an incumbent to choose from.
Vernon Hilton and Pamela Connell are both political newcomers but also Rockford natives. They see the southeast side as an untapped asset with things like the Bypass 20/251 interchange and the Chicago/Rockford International Airport.
"One of the main corridors for the 6th ward is the 251-20 crossing, it's a TIF area, I know some people are hesitant to talk about TIFs but I believe we have to work with that area, let them know what the TIFs can do for them, spread it out, get that area developed up some," says Hilton, Democratic candidate for the 6th Ward.
"We need to get rail service, passenger rail service hooked up with the airport. There's a lot of opportunities there with enhancing the hotels we have so that they are a viable hotel for visitors to come," says Connell, Republican candidate for the 6th Ward.
Crime has both candidates concerned. Hilton thinks one idea on the table already could work.
"We have to do something different. It just cannot be anything different it has to be a strategy that we have seen work and a strategy that we have studied and with the geo-policing I think it's right for the times to get things moving in a different direction," says Hilton.
Connell is less specific.
"The plan that we have, I'm not so sure if it is really thought out thoroughly enough. But what we need is a plan that is better than what we have and if it is better than what we have we need to review it and make sure we have the police coverage we need," says Connell.
Connell works as human resources management consultant. Hilton is the director of purchasing for the Rockford School District. You can choose who is right for the 6th Ward on election day, Tuesday, April 9th.
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