Six seek two seats on Wilmington City Council
By Mary Baskerville Correspondent February 26, 2013 11:42AM
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:02AM
Although 1st Ward Alderman John Persic Jr. and 4th Ward Alderman Helen Hoppe are running unopposed for re-election, the face of the Wilmington City Council will change with open seats in the 2nd and 3rd Wards.
Second Ward Alderman Darla Neises’ term expires in 2013, and she has chosen to run for mayor. Three are vying to fill the open seat: Kirby Hall, David M. Ingram Sr. and Sherri Michaels.
Hall, 33, is making his first run for office. New retail growth is needed, he said.
“We need to get a little bit bigger. That would help ease the burden on the community,” he said.
A resident of Wilmington for the past three years, he grew up in nearby Braidwood. He is a mechanic at the BSNF rail yard.
“I would like to see all the alderman working together to make the town a better place,” he said.
Michaels is making her first run for elected office. “I feel I can make a difference because I will listen to everybody’s concerns,” she said.
She said she wants to “help keep the community together and work to get more business in town.” The biggest challenge is rebuilding the downtown area, she said.
The recent hike in water and sewer rates is upsetting to many, she said.
“I’d like to find a way to lower the water and sewer bill. People are really up in arms, especially some of the senior citizens,” Michael said.
She has lived in Wilmington since 2001. Michaels, 61, is a retired restaurant manager.
Ingram said he is a newcomer to political races, but decided to run because the seat was open. He moved to Wilmington 23 years ago because of his job as a sheet metal worker for the railroad.
At 62, he said he is now retired and will have time to devote to being an alderman.
He likes the events held in the city, including Catfish Days and skating in the park.
“I’m an honest, hard-working guy, and I want to see if I can help,” he said.
He said he looks forward to “the challenge of the job.”
Alderman Jonathan Mietzner is not seeking re-election. Three are competing for the open seat: Lisa D. Butler, Joe Van Duyne and Kathryn S. Shea.
Butler is making her first run ever for elected office.
“I started to look around and realized this wasn’t the same town, the same feel as when I moved here in 2001,” she said.
“I guess I’m just a concerned citizen that wants to see positive changes made in the city council,” she said.
Butler grew up in Joliet and Louisiana.
“The No. 1 challenge is finances,” she said. “It’s been a very bad economy.”
She attends church and is a member of the Circulations Workers group at the Wilmington Public Library, where she also works.
Shea was born and raised in Wilmington and has been back in town for the last five years, In fact, she won a seat for city council once before but resigned because she could not serve and keep her job at the Wilmington Police Department. No longer at the department, Shea said she choose to run again because “Wilmington is my home.”
Her past experience includes serving on the Wilmington Township Board many years ago.
“Being from here, I know what I would like to see — what direction. I want to be instrumental in helping that happen,” she said.
“The biggest challenge — for anywhere — is the economy, people needing jobs.” There are, she said, few blocks in town without a for sale sign.
Shea, 57, is an agent representative for Meridian Medical in Joliet and a member of St. Rose Catholic Church.
Duyne, 39, has lived in the area all of his life and moved back to Wilmington as an adult.
“I decided to run because I am at the perfect age to get the younger people involved in city politics, and it’s a point in my life I need to be more involved in helping the city grow,” he said.
He said he wants a good environment for his children to grow up in.
While he has not run for government office before, he was elected to serve on the executive board of the electrician’s union to “represent our union hall and make tough decisions for our membership.”
Among the greatest challenges for the city will be making “very tough decisions” on where to spend during tight budget times. With many infrastructure needs, Van Duyne said it will be a “tough decision to decide what to try to fix and to prioritize.”
Van Duyne said he is not affiliated with any other candidates.
“I just want to make great decisions for the entire city of Wilmington, unbiased,” he said.