Candidates Views – Contested Primary Elections February 23 – Rockford 7th Ward

Groovy Ballot Box

On January 9, 2021 The League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford sent a questionnaire to reachable candidates in the Municipal Primary Elections being held February 23, 2021. Early voting started January 14, and mail-in ballots available when a request is sent to: Rockford Board of Elections at and Boone County Clerk’s office. There are no Winnebago County only candidates.

The results below are for the contested primary races only. All candidates for office will be included after results of the primaries are announced. Candidates not submitting platform information will have their names present, all candidates are in ballot order.

Belvidere 2nd Ward, City Clerk, and Belvidere Township Trustee candidates did not submit responses.

Rockford 7th Ward Primary Election - 2021

NameJanessa WilkinsLisa JacksonJoy Irving
Janessa WilkinsLisa JacksonJoy Irving
Street Address2516 Arthur Ave2007 Arthur Avenue2220 Edgemont St
Preferred public campaign contact method7waldermanwilkins; http://janessawilkins;
Highest Education AchievedFour-year College DegreeMasters DegreeFour-year College Degree
Field of Experience, either paid or volunteerCommunicationsOrganizational Leadership/Business AdministrationTruthfully, I have no experience in the political field. Church and community service.
Candidate PartyDemocratDemocratDemocratic
Elective OfficeAlderpersonAlderpersonAlderperson
Constituent Area7th Ward7th Ward7th Ward
Candidate StatusChallengerChallengerChallenger
Why do you want to be on the City Council? What prompted you to run for office?A lot of positive change can be made at the local level. I know the issues we face and I want to ensure that the people who live in this ward are top priority with City Council's decisioning when it comes to our livelihood.The main reason I am running for Alderman is my belief in my civic responsibility to my community.I would like to engage in conversation of how Rockford can be revived once more. My grandchildren motivated me and they kept saying, "granny, you can do this!"
How much time, in hours, do you think you will have to spend each week in committee meetings?10107
How much time, in hours, will you have available each week to address constituents concerns, discuss issues, and personally meet with some constituents?25157
Do you have any plans, or ambition, to seek other elected positions in government after serving on the City Council?No, This office is my only goal.Yes, I've always wanted to serve anyway I can.Maybe. Let's see how this goes.
Do you plan to hold regular public constituent meetings?Yes, monthlyYes, QuarterlyYes, monthly
What are the special challenges of your constituent area and how do you plan to address those needs?Education-Teaching more trade skills/Mentor Programs, Crime- Building rapport with officers while not in uniform, Job Opportunity- Create local ownership by local residents, Road Safety- Allocating additional funding for roads and sidewalksThere are four major issues I feel are priorities in the 7th; blighted neighborhoods, safety, social justice and equity and economic development.I would like to start with a neighborhood watch. I would start by finding a place in the central part of the ward to hold meetings with the residents.
What specific talents from your previous experiences make you a good candidate for your office?I have a degree in Communications, an established and healthy relationship with other members of city council, I am very active with many different organizations in the Rockford area and I have a long standing relationship with residentsI am a former elected official having served as a RPS 205 Board Member, Sub-district A for eight years. I have lived in the 7th ward for over 21 years.I work well with the public sect.
For Rockford aldermanic candidates: On which committees do you wish to be a member? Finance & Personnel
Planning & Development
Housing Ad Hoc
Planning & Development
Legislative & Lobbying
Finance & Personnel
Planning & Development
What specific skills do you bring to the committees?I have my B.A. in Communications, over 15 years of customer service experience and over 30 years of community activism. I am trustworthy, hard working, relatable, open to change, culturally diverse and intentional in my actions.I am a former elected official having served Rockford's sub district A for eight years. In addition, professionally, I have worked and/or volunteered in many major sectors that impact the wellbeing of individuals and communities.I have no skills, but I am here and willing to learn.
What is your experience in group negotiations for stated goals? (In partisan situations certain guidelines may need consensus.)If you're not at the table, you're on the menu.I am a former school board member for RPS 205; in my eight years of service I gained invaluable experience in the area of negotiation.I have no experience. Train me, skill, me, and try me.
If you feel strongly about a particular issue and your constituents feel the opposite, how would you vote when the issues comes up on the Council?Vote as the majority of my constituents want. I represent them.Vote as the majority of my constituents want. I represent them.Vote with my knowledge and experience. That's why I was chosen to represent.
In decisions where your constituent area will gain at the expense of the community as a whole, where does your allegiance to your constituent area end and your concern about community-wide issues begin?We must work together as a whole. If the constituents in my area do not understand or agree with the importance of us all working together to create positive change, more communication must take place in order for us all to be on one accordI will represent my constituency, in the 7th Ward, with the same commitment I displayed in eight year tenure as a RPS 205 board member; I am experienced in decision making that supports WIN-WIN solutions.My allegiance end when things are not followed through in a timely manner. Community issues affect everyone that reside in the community so, my concern begins when issues arise.
What is the core reason(s) for crime in your constituent area and the community as a whole.Education, Trauma, Gang Related Activity and lack of RelationshipsCrime is complex in nature; however, typically where there is crime there is a "lack of". To effectively address crime and causation, we must be willing to candidly discuss policies, systems, environments that impact crime.I have one crucial word for this question. Anger! People that are hurting, hurt others.
What ideas do you have to reduce crime in your constituent area and the community as a whole? Please include funding ideas.Make sure residents are aware of the resources available concerning trauma, counseling, housing, etc., establishing relationships with local professionals and students, and build trust with residents and members of law enforcementCrime is complex and often presents as ingrained within our community; therefore, solutions will not be simple. Again, we must be willing to candidly discuss [changing] policies, systems and environments in viable and sustainable manners.I would love to see the old Logli building turned into a community center. Too much time doing nothing is the devils playground. Volunteers can come together to teach classes and products can be sold to fund the upkeep of the building.
Do you support retraining police to reduce confrontational police tactics?Yes, police retraining is needed and additional social resources are needed to augment the ability to keep the peace.Yes, police retraining is needed and additional social resources are needed to augment the ability to keep the peace.Yes, police retraining is needed and additional social resources are needed to augment the ability to keep the peace.
What method would you support to pay for additional social resources to keep the peace?Re-allocate current police funding to pay for additional social resources. No higher taxes.Re-allocate current police funding to pay for additional social resources. No higher taxes.Re-allocate current police funding to pay for additional social resources. No higher taxes.
What do you think the community can do about the increase in gun violence that has not already been done?More cameras can be placed around the city that are under 24/7 surveillance and establishing more satellite images when gun fire is detectedThere is no one answer to this question. I feel addressing access is vital. I feel addressing root causes is just as vital. ultimately, individuals must be held accountable.People need to start talking to their neighbors. What is a community if everyone hears gun shots and are too afraid to say something? A lot of violence with guns can be controlled if people start speaking up.
What ideas do you have for more commerce that brings jobs to the community for middle-class wages and benefits?One great benefit about 2020 is it brought awareness to the power of social media. I plan to get more local businesses established online that could appeal to a much broader audience, bring in more revenue and create more job opportunityAssessing our current situation, especially as it relates to designated TIF areas, is vital. In addition, it will be beneficial to work with other local and state legislatures, employers, educational institutions and training programs.The jobs that were taken overseas need to be brought back.
What do you think needs done to address the issues of social-economic and race inequity this community?Difficult conversations need to take place and I will help foster concrete leadership skills, create space for people to connect with each other and increase their sense of being leaders of change.This community would benefit from the LIHF approach model to address issues of social and economic injustice and race inequity in our community.Knowledge, is power. In order for anything to be done people have to have an ear to listen.
For Rockford Candidates Only: Do you support the continuation of the 1% sales tax for road infrastructure?YesYesYes
Concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, what mitigation-level rules you support?Recommended CDC-recommended masks and 6-foot social distancing.Mandatory CDC-recommended masks and 6-foot social distancing.Mandatory CDC-recommended masks and 6-foot social distancing.
Please state any other areas, important to you, that you want the public to know.Get out and vote, but don't stop there. Support and communicate with your local officials and get active in your neighborhoods/community.My experience in representative government, plus my knowledge and caring for my community makes me the best alderperson for the 7th Ward.My belief in God, is strong. People use to say it takes a village to raise a child. That's not true. It takes caring people in the village to bring about correction.