For the first time in more than a decade, a new name will adorn the offices on the 8th floor of downtown’s City Hall.
Some have clamored for a new mayor since the first days of the outgoing Larry Morrissey administration, some 12 years ago. That’s the nature of politics, and that’s the challenge facing the incoming administration as a raft of controversial city projects loom.
Of the four candidates for mayor – Independents Rudy Valdez and Ronnie Manns; Republican Brian Leggero; and Democrat Tom McNamara – only one has played a crucial role in the ongoing development of these projects, and only one is the person we feel can lead Rockford forward through the coming years.
Third Ward Alderman Tom McNamara has been a progressive voice for change on the City Council since he came on board in 2013. He’s a council member in the modern, non-partisan model much needed in local government, willing to work with and listen to any fellow citizen about their concerns.
McNamara is the type of politician we would hope could fill the ranks of government from top-to-bottom. He is the type of leader willing to listen to all points of view on any given subject; to say “thank you” for your input; to take the time to research your problems and find solutions; to make a point to always get back to you if he was unable to address your issue in the moment; and to do so in a very timely fashion. It’s a common refrain from those who have worked alongside him the past four years: Tom is someone who will always respond to you, whether you like it or not, and he is always thoughtful in that response.
If a campaign is any measure of the man and his expectations for a future administration, we look forward to the next four years. McNamara’s campaign has been one of the utmost respect, and one with an open door. Persons walking into his campaign office off the street have been greeted and listened to, not only by the candidate’s staff but by McNamara himself. This sort of open door to government is exactly what we need.
And McNamara is not simply a photo-op politician; he is one willing to get stuck into policy discussions and debates in the council. He was pro-active in the search for a new police chief; has advocated for expanding policing services; established a special review board for TIF applications; brought the Mow to Own sweat equity program to life, helping to recover properties lost from tax rolls; spearheaded a tax rebate program for homeowners who purchase distressed properties; and advocated for the repositioning of reclaim capital improvement funds to the areas of town that need it the most, not simply to be evenly redistributed across the 14 wards.
McNamara has every bit the energy and passion his father and former mayor John had for the city, although perhaps a bit more smoothed over, and without the salty language. McNamara is a family man with strong roots in the community, and advocate for Rockford at all times. And he is the right choice to lead our city through the coming years. Vote Tom McNamara for mayor.