Issues

Future for Rockford                      
  1. Expand Wireless Connectivity in Rockford: Rockford has a tremendous opportunity in its status as a satellite city of Chicago.  Rockford complements Chicago's weaknesses in many ways.  One area that can make Rockford more attractive to innovators and entrepreneurs is to expand 21st century connectivity in Rockford to make  our area more worker and entrepreneur friendly.  Both drive a local economy and it is the responsibility of government to both protect and empower citizens.  Let's empower our innovators and workers by expanding 21st century technologies in a 21st century economy.  Chattanooga, Tennessee is a city that rolled out a fiber-optic network to all citizens, a program which enhances innovation and idea-sharing.  Chattanooga officials champion themselves to be at the front of the "technological curve" in the South.  Why can't Rockford be that of the North, putting a bit of shimmer in the Rust Belt?
     

  2. Rethink Space in Rockford: Rust Belt cities across America are being forced to get creative with space in hallowed-out cities.  This presents a great opportunity for proactive, productive measures in Rockford, especially along busy corridors along State Street, Broadway, Rural, Guilford, 11th Street, and 20th Street.  Further development in the future can occur along the Rock River, the best local natural asset.  When we look toward other Rust Belt cities and the manner in which they take advantage of space, we can look toward realizing a greener, more productive Rockford.
     

  3. Economic Diversification: Economic specialization is the enemy of an enduring, productive city.  When steel left Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania suffered just like when auto manufacturing left Detroit, southeast Michigan suffered.  "Screw City" is no different.  A city reliant upon manufacturing must diversify the products it makes or face future ruin.  It is up to government officials to create a climate where economic diversification can thrive so a multitude of different industries can positively impact its workers and residents.  While a moniker like "Screw City" is romantic, remember the old adage our elders taught us: Never put all your eggs in one basket.
     

  4. Expanded Educational Opportunities: Rock Valley College has been an anchor institution in the Greater Rockford Region for nearly a half-century.  However, one of the weaknesses of the region is the absence of a four-year public university.  I envision a four-year public university in Rockford, and it is a shame the second-largest metropolitan area in one the largest states in the US is without a public university.  In a knowledge-based economy, more education creates more profitable and productive outcomes for a region.  As an educator by trade, I will work toward expanding educational opportunities for Rockfordians, Illinoisans, and Americans.
     

  5. Substitute a Regional Tax-Base instead of Multiple Municipal Tax Bases: The enemy of unified progress is fractured fighting.  The Greater Rockford Region is the second-largest metropolitan region in one of America's largest states-- regional economic unity is a necessity to being competitive in a 21st century globalized economy.  Let's work to partner with Machesney Park, Loves Park, Cherry Valley, Rockton, Roscoe, and Belvidere to improve financial outcomes for all communities in the Greater Rockford region.
     

  6. Environment in Rockford: We have an opportunity to be a leader in creating an environment that our children and grandchildren will thank us for, and I have always preferred leadership to followership.  By creating accountable local standards for utility companies, taxi companies, and construction companies, among others, Rockford can be a leader for a future that benefits the expanding green jobs sector as well as a leader for our next generation of Illinoisans.