ROCKFORD — Tuesday’s primary election includes contested races for four seats on the Rockford City Council.
In the Fifth Ward, three Democrats will vie for the seat presently held by Ald. Venita Hervey, who is not seeking re-election. The candidates are retired teacher Elridge “Skip” Gilbert Jr., Gabrielle “Gabbi” Torina, a local activist; and business owner Joseph Pearson. No Republican filed to run in Ward 5.
Hervey was first elected in 2009, succeeding longtime Fifth Ward Ald. Victory Bell.
Rockford’s Seventh Ward incumbent, Ann Thompson-Kelly, is also stepping down. Three Democrats have filed to replace her. They are HomeStart Community Engagement Manager Janessa Wilkins, homemaker Joy Irving, and former Rockford Public School District 205 board member Lisa Jackson.
Thompson-Kelly served five terms and was the first Black woman elected to the Rockford City Council.
The three Democrats running in Rockford’s 11th Ward include incumbent Ald. Tuffy Quinonez, a retired business owner and Army veteran. Substitute teacher Gerald Albert and financial services professional Terri Schierer are his opponents. No Republican filed in Ward 11.
Two Republicans are running in the 12th Ward, where Jennifer “Ginger” Hanley is serving the remainder of longtime Ald. John Beck’s current term. Hanley was appointed to the seat last May by Mayor Tom McNamara after Beck’s death. She’s not seeking a four-year term. Candidates vying for the 12th Ward seat are dairy worker Mark Yone and real estate broker Robert Walsh.
The winner of the 12th Ward primary will face Gina Meeks, a Democrat running unopposed, in the April 6 consolidated election. Meeks is the Strong Neighborhoods coordinator for the United Way of Rock River Valley.
Rockford voters will also be asked to review the 1-percent sales tax, a levy collected for infrastructure and road repairs. The tax has local support among Republicans and Democrats and has been renewed three times since 2007.