As a member of the Elgin community, Jon Rutherford aspires to help his town in a more proactive way through his bid for mayor. To do so, he’s challenging incumbent Allan Duffy, who is currently in his second term as Elgin mayor.
“I’ve heard numbers of complaints from citizens and decided (since) nobody else wants to run against him, I’ll do it,” Rutherford said of his campaign. “I’m always someone that will fight for the little man.”
Originally from Sacramento, California, Rutherford moved to Elgin in 2013 and has worked in the area at Barreto Manufacturing and seasonally as a wildland firefighter.
Though he has yet to serve in a political office, what he lacks in experience he combats with a self-assured demeanor. When asked if he considers himself a confident person, he replied, “always.” If elected, Rutherford would concentrate a greater focus on the community’s wants and needs, a perspective he feels the current city council lacks.
“It’s (the community’s) opinions that are going to matter to me, not what the overall county wants,” Rutherford said. “I’m a volunteer and whatever they vote on is what’s going to be done — not what I want. That’s what’s taking place right now.”
Rutherford claims the council exercises favoritism and frequently cancels or reschedules its monthly meetings without properly notifying the public — actions he would seek to change if elected.
“The little people don’t matter, but the ‘big names,’ the ones that are pushing for issues, (the council) sides with them,” Rutherford said of the current council. “It’s corrupt.”
In dealing with these perceived issues, Rutherford hopes to facilitate more open, honest communication between the city council and Elgin’s residents, and garner more community input overall.
“If you ask me a question, I’m going to answer honestly. If you bring it to the table, it’s going to be (discussed),” he said.
Rutherford also wants to address property line/zoning issue discrepancies among Elgin residents, a problem he says many in the community have dealt with, as well as addressing the city’s outdated sewer lines and water meters and creating more places for Elgin’s youth to hang out.
“There’s nothing in Elgin to do for kids and (that’s when) they get into mischief,” he said.
Concerning other potential issues, Rutherford said, “I haven’t discussed with city members yet what they want. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Following a 2017 assault charge stemming from an incident involving city councilman Rocky Burgess, Rutherford is currently barred by law from attending city council meetings.
“They claimed I assaulted (him), but I was defending myself,” Rutherford said of the incident.