Candidates Views – General Elections April 6 – Rockford 12th 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 Elections being held April 6, 2021. Early voting started March 12, and mail-in ballots available when a request is sent to: Rockford Board of Elections at voterockford.com, Boone County Clerk’s office and the Winnebago County Clerk’s office.

The results below are for the Rockford and Belvidere city races only. Candidates not submitting questionnaire information will have their names present, all candidates are in ballot order.


General Voting and Election Information

Ballots, voter rights, contact info, literally everything, is on the LWVGR Voter Information page. Office winners are checked.


Rockford 12th Ward General Election - 2021

NameRobert WalshGina Meeks ✔︎
Robert WalshGina Meeks
Street Address2134 Clinton Street2319 Hancock Street
CityRockfordRockford
Preferred public campaign contact methodwww.walshforrockford.com, walshforrockford@gmail.com, https://www.facebook.com/aldermanwalsh, (815) 277-1101http://www.ginameeks.com/
Highest Education AchievedAttended college, no degreeAttended college, no degree
Field of Experience, either paid or volunteerProfessional Real Estate Broker & Business OwnerABD Federal Credit Union (Financial Experience); Rockford Country Club Membership Director(Communications & Event Planning); Economic Development with RAEDC; and currently the Strong Neighborhood Coordinator with United Way.
Candidate PartyRepublicanDemocratic
Elective OfficeAlderpersonAlderperson
Constituent Area12th Ward12th Ward
Candidate StatusChallengerChallenger
Why do you want to be on the City Council? What prompted you to run for office?To make sure that citizens are not just aware but involved in the decision-making process with policies that affect their businesses and families. I was encouraged to run for the role by many of my family members, colleagues, and neighbors.My life and career have been dedicated to serving my community, and being a voice for my neighbors in city government is another way for me to give back to Rockford. The time is now!
How much time, in hours, do you think you will have to spend each week in committee meetings?85
How much time, in hours, will you have available each week to address constituents concerns, discuss issues, and personally meet with some constituents?810
Do you have any plans, or ambition, to seek other elected positions in government after serving on the City Council?Maybe. Let's see how this goes.Maybe. Let's see how this goes.
Do you plan to hold regular public constituent meetings?Yes, monthlyYes, monthly
What are the special challenges of your constituent area and how do you plan to address those needs?Public Safety, Infrastructure & Communication - I will work with the residents, neighborhood associations, and businesses to ensure that these issues are met for all who live, work, and visit our 12th ward.Businesses in North Rockford are going to need meaningful support from the city as we recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic. I will ensure that any recovery plan includes level headed support for the N Main and Riverside corridors.
What specific talents from your previous experiences make you a good candidate for your office?Real estate experience in both large and small markets and most recently focused in the rapidly growing Rockford area. Prior to my career in real estate, I worked in the hospitality and service industry.

Service has been my life's work.
I have worked in economic development in the past and currently work for United Way as their Strong Neighborhoods Coordinator. My professional experience has explicitly prepared me to be an effective representative for my community.
For Rockford aldermanic candidates: On which committees do you wish to be a member? Liquor Commission
Finance & Personnel
Rockford Area Economic Development Council
Planning & Development
Rockford Area Venues & Entertainment
Rockford Area Venues & Entertainment
Rockford Area Economic Development Council
Finance & Personnel
Labor Negotiations
Community Action Agency
What specific skills do you bring to the committees?Business experience, business ownership, project management, tenant relations & real-life, hands-on experience.My job with United Way relies heavily on building and maintaining relationships with community members and organizations. I will build new relationships and lean on existing ones to help my committees achieve success.
What is your experience in group negotiations for stated goals? (In partisan situations certain guidelines may need consensus.)When working as a group towards a stated goal, all input matters and should be heard. Once all input has been heard and disseminated, the best solution should be put forward that will best serve the stated goal and needs of the group.I manage a $180,000 budget annually. Every year there are many voices on our committees with opinions on where resources should go. I can appreciate when negotiations allow for sufficient time to coordinate a team approach for solutions.
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 with my knowledge and experience. That's why I was chosen to represent.Vote as the majority of my constituents want. I represent them.
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?If elected, my job is to shepherd the 12th ward constituents and understand any community wide concerns and try my best to address them. Community wide issues will always come first to me which will ensure that I am serving the people.As 12th Ward Alderman my job will be to advocate for my neighbors first and foremost. They will always be my top priority.
What is the core reason(s) for crime in your constituent area and the community as a whole.The current social injustice issues, economic issues, domestic violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic are some of the core reasons for crime.I believe it all comes down to poverty and meeting people where they are. That is the core response of community and as long as needs are not being met, desperation and poor choices will follow. Addressing the root is a key component.
What ideas do you have to reduce crime in your constituent area and the community as a whole? Please include funding ideas.Community policing is a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. The local police cannot oversee every act of violence or crime, all community members must become active and engaged.My focus would center around a location in the 12th ward, our Juvenile Detention Center. Providing wrap around services to get youth and their families on the right path could significantly change the trajectory of our community.
Do you support retraining police to reduce confrontational police tactics?No, Change is not needed. Local police are not confrontational unless absolutely necessary for safety.No, police retraining is not needed, but 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?There is no problem. No change in police funding or 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?All Rockfordians need to be committed to end gun violence across all of our neighborhoods and community. The bottom line is that if you see something, you need to say something.Relationship building with law enforcement has always been a method I encourage. Seeing our officers having a more consistent presence in a relaxed atmosphere can promote more authentic relationships and can build trust.
What ideas do you have for more commerce that brings jobs to the community for middle-class wages and benefits?Education is more important now than ever, but creating more technical and manufacturing jobs may steer more students into technical and vocational schools at a younger age, which can generate more skilled workers that employers need.I want to continue the investment in the 12th Ward that started with the N Main Reconstruction Project. By promoting growth of local and small businesses, we can better support residents with jobs and income.
What do you think needs done to address the issues of social-economic and race inequity this community?All residents should be afforded the right to social-economic and racial equalities. Residents should be afforded a quality education, which is the foundational building block towards a better pathway towards social and economic developmentInvesting in people through good k-12 education, workforce development programs, and supporting businesses is the simplest way of closing the gaps of socioeconomic and racial inequality in our community.
Concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, what mitigation-level rules you support?Recommended CDC-recommended masks and 6-foot social distancing.Recommended CDC-recommended masks and 6-foot social distancing.
Please state any other areas, important to you, that you want the public to know.Bobby, his wife & their two boys reside in the Edgewater neighborhood. Bobby is an excellent cook, avid gardener, volunteers as a youth baseball coach for the Rockford Boys & Girls Club, and graduate of the Rockford Citizens Police Academy.I have worked with labor unions and community leaders creating opportunities to serve and give back.
I have helped raise funds to sustain the financial stability, health and education of so many who live
right in my ward and throughout our city. It is my duty to improve everyday life for my neighbors, and
these experiences qualify me to serve in city council. If I am elected as the next Alderman of the 12th
Ward, I will put my experience to work and use what I have learned to make an immediate impact.
LWVGR-Candidate-Questionnaire-1/2021