Township race crowded, part II

Township race crowded, part II

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Editor’s note: The following are the remaining four candidates who are running for township highway commissioner. They are Chuck Jefferson (D); Ken Blakely (R); Phil Graceffa (R); and Ron Swanson (R).

Jefferson believes he is qualified for the commissioner position, as he has served on the Winnebago County Board for 10 years. Jefferson also sits on the Public Works Committee and served as chairman for two years.

“I was very instrumental in seeing the Spring Creek extension all the way through to Perryville Road,” he stated. He noted the extension winds from Mulford Road to Perryville Road and opens up two lanes each way.

“I’ve got experience as far as managing people,” he said, adding that he was employed by Freeport Ford Lincoln Mercury as a manager last year. Before that, he was an assistant supervisor for Humphrey Cadillac for 18 years.

“More importantly, the highway commission needs to restore respectability to the position,” Jefferson stressed. “It has really given the position a black eye.”

Blakely has been employed by the township for 22 years. “I’ve seen too much corruption and what the office does to the people who get elected,” Blakely said. “I’m going to try to change that. I’ve got half my life invested here. I thought it’s time I run for the position.”

He also cites his experience as a factor in his decision. His work has entailed plowing and running a grader. Blakely said that if he is elected, he wants to be involved in the street sign program, which he considers nearly non-existent. He said no one is maintaining the signs.

“I don’t have any other interests except working with the taxpayer. I’m also a taxpayer myself. That’s kind of the way I look at it.”

Blakely also pinpointed his role as New Milford’s Republican precinct committeeman and said he is active in the community.

Graceffa wants to run in order to restore “integrity” into the township office. “I’m not a politician,” he said. “There’s just a lot of issues that need to be brought to everybody’s attention. I plan on working for the people, not the politicians.”

For one year, Graceffa has owned Rag Suppliers, Inc., which sells paper products. He also has worked for the Illinois Highway Department for 15 years, which he believes qualifies him for the commissioner position. “Every part of the roadwork they do, we do,” he said. “I know the job.”

He mentioned that if elected, he wants to install a security system in the office to determine when employees are present. “That might stop some things that have been going on for years and years,” Graceffa said.

He also emphasized that he would ensure safety for truck drivers working in such weather conditions as present frigid conditions. He said they can’t function well when working the long hours they work. “Safety is the number one factor with me,” he said.

All attempts to contact Swanson were unsuccessful.

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