Race for Ward 1 Alderman

Darcella Speed

Background information: Hi, my name is Darcella Speed, I am running for Alderwoman for Ward One. I was born in Chicago IL, I moved to Jacksonville at the age of 8. I attended Our Saviors Elementary School; Turner Junior High and I am a proud graduate of Jacksonville High School. I attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

I later returned to Jacksonville and raised a family. I have been employed locally with BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois for 22 years where I have had the honor of holding several positions. I currently hold the position of Customer Service Supervisor.

I have been actively involved with my community for years; from working with my church helping to distribute food to the less fortunate, helping preparing Thanksgiving dinners at the soup kitchen, participating in the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, Relay for Life, Community Theater, volunteering at the information desk at Passavant Hospital and serving on the United Way Executive board for many years. I am also a licensed Foster Parent.

What event/initiative regarding the City of Jacksonville are you most proud to be involved in? I am very community involved and the program that I’m most proud of is The Community Temple C.O.G.I.C, Community Child Care & Service Center food distribution. This monthly event allows me to engage with the individuals within the ward that I reside in. During these troubling times, this initiative allows me to make a greater impact with the citizen of the Jacksonville community.

Do you think that our Main Street/downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do? Downtown/Main Street is healthy and successful to the individuals that it serves such as business and property owners. The Downton/ Main Street should present greater opportunities for diversity and inclusion for all Jacksonville citizens. I can continue to be an advocate, continue to look for equitable opportunities for all citizens and be a voice for those who are underserved.

If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why? If I could change one thing in our zoning codes, I would propose to increase flexibility in order for the underserved to thrive as their counterparts.

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city in any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? If given the opportunity, I would allocate a million-dollar grant towards the Northeast side of town and to increase job opportunities within Jacksonville. The funds would go towards replacing dilapidated buildings and houses with more updated/modern homes and establish small businesses that would provide job opportunities.

What is the greatest challenge facing the city of Jacksonville and what would you propose to be done to correct that problem? The greatest challenge facing the city of Jacksonville is overcoming a lack of equitable opportunity for the disenfranchised. Key points to solving this challenge are bringing awareness, developing a plan of action and executing the plan.

What is something that the Jacksonville city council has done that you support? Something the city council has done that I support is the building of the new water plant.

What is the best thing the happen to Jacksonville in the last 5 years? The best thing to happen within Jacksonville in the last 5 years is the expansion of the healthcare system.

What needs to be changed immediately to make Jacksonville a better place to live and work? The immediate change to make Jacksonville a better place to live and work is to revise old and adopt new policies concerning city ordinances, and develop a plan to assist those in need to meet the standard of the new or revised polices.

Jacksonville has unfilled jobs due to available workforce. Is there anything you can do to help the community get trained workers into this community? I can help the community get trained workers into this community by distributing the information provided by the employer within Jacksonville and the surrounding area.

How do you see the Illinois Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill impacting the city of Jacksonville? With everything there are pros and cons. Due to the length and complexity of the Illinois Governer’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill, there is more to research. However, my desire is to see that there is equality and transparency for all which will impact the city of Jacksonville in a positive way.

Robert Thomas

Background information: 47 years old, born in Jacksonville, graduated high school in 1991- Camdenton MO., Returned to Jacksonville in 1993, bought DTE Technologies in March of 2001, still run today.

What event/initiative regarding the City of Jacksonville are you most proud to be involved in? I was a major part of rebuilding the Jr. Crimsons Youth Football. I helped several kids then that now are going to college because of football.

Do you think that our Main Street/downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do? I think it has been very successful. Now let’s do something for the rest of Ward I.

If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why? Allow for building or properties to be re-zoned for new businesses easier.

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city in any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? Set up a permanent homeless shelter that would be equipped with mental health and medical services for those who need it.

What is the greatest challenge facing the city of Jacksonville and what would you propose to be done to correct that problem? Attracting new businesses. The addition of i3 is a great start but the city needs to be doing more from a tax rebate and assistance to attract more businesses.

What is something that the Jacksonville city council has done that you support? i3 Broadband and the temporary homeless shelter.

What is the best thing the happen to Jacksonville in the last 5 years? The continued revitalization of the Downtown Square

What needs to be changed immediately to make Jacksonville a better place to live and work? Update and enforce Nuisance laws.

Jacksonville has unfilled jobs due to available workforce. Is there anything you can do to help the community get trained workers into this community? Work with the local colleges to get their young people to want to stay here and help grow our city.

How do you see the Illinois Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill impacting the city of Jacksonville? I think if it is done correctly it can be beneficial. I also agree that we should be listening to our law enforcement as to their needs and input.

Personal info you wish to share: I am a father of 4 that I have raised on my own. My children still live in the city, so I want to see us succeed.

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