Democrats gunning for a spot in Rock Island Township government laid out their visions on how government can better serve those in need at a forum Thursday night.
The two candidates for township supervisor and four of the six Democrat seeking four trustee positions fielded questions from township residents at the Rock Island Public Library a month before the Democratic Party primary election scheduled Feb. 26.
The main goals of township government is to assess property value and provided help to those in need, said pre-school teacher Heather Gray, a township trustee since 2008.
The "life-long resident" of Rock Island said she hopes to encourage youth involvement by creating a community garden and using the township's facilities as a resource for younger students.
"Education only leads to better things," Ms. Gray said.
Vince Thomas, another current trustee who said he has lived 54 years in Rock Island, agreed more could be done to help the "vast" amount of children in lower-income families in the city.
Incumbent James Kerr, who became a trustee in 1992, said township government has been able to work well to achieve its goals in the past.
"We've got a good team that really tries to help those in need," he said. Still, he said, more canbe done to engage the community and drum up volunteerism. He suggested the township consider sending out a newsletter to better inform residents.
Trustee-hopeful Rita Kirk said the township government to expand its programs for seniors and low-income residents. Currently a bookkeeper for the township, Ms. Kirk said her unique perspective gives her insight into what she can hope to improve as a board member.
Supervisor candidate Alan Carmenagreed community involvement is critical to better serve the public.The retired Planning and Redevelopment Administrator for the city of Rock Island said there are low-cost options to make township government more accessible to the public, such as meetings and social media.
His opponent, Glen Evans, said the township should focus on helping residents find employment. "We just need to give them an opportunity to work," said Mr. Evans, a minister at Wings of Faith Ministries in Rock Island.
Current township supervisor John Brown has announced he will not seek re-election. The new supervisor and four trustees will be elected on April 9.No Republicans have filed for the posts.
Running unopposed are township assessor Brenda Carmen and township clerk Joan Clark. Both also were at the forum to address concerns from the audience.
Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: On Monday the 11th inst. on Center Ridge in Mercer County,some citizens got out their cannon to celebrate the taking of Richmond. The gun wasoverloaded and burst. No one was injured, but one 30-pound piece went though thesecond story of a house. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The old folks concert at the Harper Theater last night to benefit St.Luke's Cottage Hospital, attracted a large audience. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Unless depredation by vandals in Rock Island parks is halted,special policemen will be assigned to night duty to protect the flowers and other property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Station WHBF has received a special citation from Washington forits participation in Air Mail Week, which was observed this week throughout the nation. 1963 -- 50 years ago: A 10-year high in employment in the Quad-City area was reachedat the end of the last quarter, according to an industrial employment barometer releasedtoday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Pee Wee teams will be able to play baseball and softball as usualon Diamond Three at Dorrance Park this summer, but after that, the ball field is doomed.County crews have put the diamond back in shape after heavy trucks marred the playingfield earlier this spring. Illinois Department of Transportation crews drove onto it to makeborings for the relocation of the junction of Illinois 84 and the Port Byron-Hillsdale road.