DeKalb youth mentor, UPS worker announces candidacy for DeKalb City Council: ‘It’s just my time’

John Walker says he is vying to become the city’s Seventh Ward Alderman in the 2023 election.

DeKALB – An area businessman, UPS worker and youth mentor announced Monday that he plans to vie for a seat on the DeKalb City Council in the 2023 election.

DeKalb resident and UPS delivery driver John Walker told the Daily Chronicle in an interview Friday that he promises to deliver if he should serve the city as its Seventh Ward alderman.

“I would bring a different a demeanor to city council and different views,” Walker said.

Walker said it’s clear that the DeKalb City Council needs a bit of change.

“It’s just my time,” Walker said. “I got a lot of drive to do this job.”

DeKalb resident John Walker announced Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, his bid to represent Ward 7 on the DeKalb City Council. Walker said he'll run for the seat in the spring 2023 municipal election. Walker, a businessman, longtime youth mentor and UPS worker, also serves on the first ever city's Citizen Police Review Board, which convened in February 2022. (Photo provided by John Walker)

Walker said his campaign platform is straightforward and it can be boiled down to 10 main points. In a tweet posted Monday, Walker said he stands for hard work, honesty and fair-mindedness and against bullying and abuse.

“I do not support people who tear down others to make themselves look more important,” Walker wrote in his candidacy announcement. “I am passionate about creating opportunities for all our youth to find sports, the arts, and other purposes to build self-confidence, team work, tolerance and good will toward others.”

Walker said he takes pride in being both an informed and involved member of the community.

Walker is no stranger to DeKalb government and community building.

He is a member of the city’s Citizens Police Review Board – first formed in February tasked with deliberating over police misconduct cases – and past member of the Human Relations Commission. He touted the formation of his youth development foundation called the Youth Pride Foundation and advocacy work helping area tenants to deal with landlords.

“When you’ve been in a community as long as I have and you’ve worked in one area as long as I have, you get to know families and people,” he said. “The heart that I have makes me want to get out and help people out and that equates to being a leader and going out there. Hopefully, I’m setting strong examples for many other people to want to get involved, follow or want to lead themselves.”

Walker said he stays up-to-date on city happenings in several ways, including watching city council meetings, reading the local newspaper and talking to city and community leaders.

Walker said he knows how crucial it is to work as part of a team with the rest of the aldermen.

“Every kid that I’ve coached – and I’ve coached almost 20 years in DeKalb – and most these kids know me,” he said. “The one thing I’ve always preached is teamwork.”

But Walker understands, too, the importance of differentiating oneself from the pack.

“The best thing about me is I know how to improvise, especially when I have copious amounts of information about something,” he said.

Walker said some of the issues that he cares deeply about are housing and public safety.

John Walker watches over the inaugural Legends of the 60115 Football Camp he set up with NIUÕs Cole Tucker as part of his Youth Pride Foundation on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

He acknowledged all the work done to help improve perceptions of the police department over the years and said Police Chief David Byrd deserves some praise.

Walker said he believes the police department doesn’t always get a fair shake.

“At UPS, we always say make your last trip your safest one, so you can get home,” he said. “Think about the police now. Every stop has to be the safest, so you can get back to your family.”

Walker said he appreciates the things that the police department is doing now to change public perceptions.

“They’re honestly trying to change up some of the negativity that’s been brought their way, deservedly so with some of the things, but I will say this, ‘They’re going beyond.’”

The city’s Seventh Ward is currently represented by Alderman Anthony Faivre.

Walker said he is appreciative of the outpouring of community support he has received since announcing his bid to run for City Council.

The 2023 consolidated election in Illinois will take place April 4, 2023.

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