Local: Sales tax stands up to challenge

The 1 percent sales tax for road improvements in the City of Rockford passed the ballot test again Tuesday night, taking home nearly two-thirds of the vote, overwhelmingly approving the measure.

local_contested_031616Supporters campaigned hard in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election hoping to extend the tax which has seen Rockford shed its bond debts and continue infrastructure projects throughout the city despite the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield.

“I am extremely proud of the results on the referendum,” Mayor Larry Morrissey said Tuesday night, “and the work put in by a lot people to see this through.

“In the ongoing challenging economic climate around here, to have the voters come out and support the referendum is a great boost to the community.”

Morrissey added that he felt that polling in recent weeks left the question up in the air going into Tuesday’s election, but that he was happy to see a result that will allow the city’s Capital Improvement Plan to continue moving forward without reliance on state and federal funds.

“We’ve obviously got a lot of work to do, but this was a great result for Rockford and for the entire area.”

Kirk, Duckworth take Senate races

Senator Mark Kirk claimed a primary victory Tuesday night over opponent James Marter while Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth took the Democratic primary by a 40 point margin, setting up a November showdown between the two veterans for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats.

“I’ve been underrated in every election,” Kirk told supporters Tuesday. “I have beaten the odds and exceeded expectations. I have won every race. The next election will be no different.”

Duckworth continued her assault on Kirk, saying that the senator’s policies had left the state’s working class behind.

“We are going to lead on strength and not fear,” Duckworth said. “Unfortunately, that’s a message that’s lost on Mark Kirk.”

Meanwhile, embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez conceded in her Democratic primary to challenger Kim Foxx.

Alvarez has been under increasing pressure since the release of a video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting unarmed black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times in the middle of a Chicago street.

Alvarez waited over 400 days to charge Van Dyke has declined to bring charges against a further 68 Chicago police officers involved in shooting incidents.

–Shane Nicholson, Managing Editor

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