After an uncontested race last election cycle, Elgin Mayor Allan Duffy faces competition this go-around in the form of Jon Rutherford.
An Observer interview was scheduled with Rutherford earlier this week, but he did not attend and did not respond for comment in time for publication.
In his fourth year as mayor, Allan Duffy’s passion for his role hasn’t wavered.
“It’s an honor and a privilege when people vote for you to serve them and carry out the business of the city,” Duffy said. “It’s satisfying when you can make changes and make things better. I love promoting my city and ‘putting us on the map,’ letting people know we’re (here) and we’re doing great things.”
An Elgin resident for 11 years, Duffy has been involved with city government since 2011 when he served on the city’s planning commission. When a city council seat became vacant, Duffy was appointed to the position and served for the next year and a half, eventually running and being elected to a four-year term as a city councilman. After serving two of those four years, however, he decided to run for mayor and successfully defeated the incumbent, John Stover, thus beginning the first of his two terms as Elgin’s mayor.
“When I started four years ago, I told citizens my view was to have more transparency through city hall with city councilors and the news media. We’ve accomplished that,” he said. “I think I’ve done some great things with the city staff and the rest of the city council. We’ve made some great progress.”
This progress includes re-establishing Elgin’s municipal court system and ordinance officer position, the construction and grand opening of a health clinic, various infrastructure projects such as recent sidewalk construction and a $3.5 million sewer project, establishing a new subdivision — the largest housing growth in the city in more than 30 years — and an upcoming move into a larger city hall building.
“I believe we’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in Elgin. There are a lot of other things (to be done), things we can build on to improve our city,” Duffy said. “I know with the council we have, the (city) staff and the citizens, we can make these things happen.”
Concerning new projects, Duffy said the possibilities are ripe, beginning with the relocation and establishment of the Elgin
Museum in the soon-to-be former city hall building and possible remodeling and upgrades to the Elgin Opera House, which is owned by the city.
“I just have a passion for Elgin,” he said. “It’s my home. I have a desire to make sure we’re moving forward (and not) backward, to keep improving our services, access to the public (and) city hall, and continue projects we’ve been working on. I really believe we’ve made great progress and want to see (that) through.”
In his role so far, Duffy believes he’s made a positive impression on Elgin residents and hopes his commitment speaks for itself.
“I think I have a proven record. I’ve been honest and forthright with the public,” he said. “(The city council and I) have made great strides in moving Elgin forward. We have a good working relationship, even when we disagree. The innovative thinking and closeness we have as a city group, working together and working out issues and problems that come up — I don’t think there’s a challenge before us we can’t get over.”
The singular thread that runs through Duffy’s assertions in his re-election bid is forward motion, and he is hopeful Elgin’s residents will allow him to continue to work for them.
“I appreciate those who have supported me and continue to support me. I don’t think you deserve a vote unless you ask the people for their vote, so I’m asking the people to vote for me to continue the progress that we’ve seen.”