Full Name: John Walker
What office are you seeking? 7th Ward Alderman
What is your political party? Independent
What is your current age? 46
Occupation and Employer: UPS
What offices, if any, have you previously held?
Education: College of DuPage
UPS Training Academy
Community involvement: DeKalb Citizens’ Police Review Board
Youth Pride Foundation
Marital status/Immediate family: Wife – Amy, kids – Jared, Jalen, Jordan, Jayla.
Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because I see the change that needs to happen in our town and I know that I can make a difference by helping to create that change in a positive way.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
Even before I actually thought about running for office, I have done work with several community members on various issues concerning property management, renting, and policing concerns. As a UPS delivery driver, I am in daily contact with business owners and have talked at length with them about their concerns and issues. That helped me inform my decisions about how to go about helping. I am really a voice for the people of our town. I listen to people and try to help where I can. So out of that work, came my interest in actually running for office. I’d like to officially continue the work.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
My position is as follows:
I believe in the 2nd amendment and people’s right to bare arms. However, I believe in sensible gun safety and laws to protect the most vulnerable from being murdered.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
I believe crime is a huge issue in certain sections of our town. Often times, we simply put a band-aid on the problem when, we as the whole community, need to engage more with our police and help them where help is wanted and needed. It is important to also support them using all of the resources we possibly can to help them keep us safe. Long term, I believe the city is headed in the right direction with our Crime Free Housing and with the hiring of Bob Redel to oversee it. We also need to get more involved with the youth by implementing more programs that extend beyond the school hours of 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. By putting positive role models in their lives that they may not otherwise have, they will gain integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. Our youth is the future and it’s time we invest in them!
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
COVID-19 in our area was handled with care and urgency. I believe the guidelines that were put into place came swiftly as the virus changed and as it entered our area. The city and the health department worked closely to monitor the situation and put masking into place and kept our residents as safe as possible.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
The value of family! At the end of the day and when push comes to shove, it is the people closest to us that matter the most. Life can send you a swift kick in the butt at any moment, so live in the moment. I also learned that we (as people) can do so much with so little!
How would you spur economic development in your community?
I would first bring in more businesses that would add to the value of our community and I would help the business see the benefit of coming here. If you look around our town, there isn’t much for families to do. Most people I know, have to leave town to do something fun with their family, with the exception of bowling and the movies. I would bring more restaurants, stores, and entertainment here that would help keep families in the area. I also feel that our downtown area has grown so much in the last few years so I would definitely encourage growth there as well. Now, this in turn would spur more jobs in our community, which would then cause an increase need for housing. I don’t believe it’s a one or the other when trying to build up a community, rather all three.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
I feel that bringing more big business to our area could help reduce property taxes. Bringing big business, such as Metra, to our area would decrease that burden. Seeking to balance property taxes with commercial properties would prove beneficial.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
I do support recreational marijuana coming to our area because that is the big business that I talked about before. The marijuana industry is a billion dollar industry so why wouldn’t we want to benefit from that revenue?
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
First thing I would do is to fix our streets! The amount of potholes in our ward alone, are damaging to vehicles. There is a viaduct on Annie Glidden Road and Rt 38 that looks uninviting as a first entrance into our town. It would be nice to have that viaduct painted with the NIU logo and red and black. Something to say, welcome to our town and NIU happens to be a big part of it. My wife and I have a son who goes to NIU and was on the football team so we have seen lots of other college towns and that is the one thing we also notice. That the town and the college are in unison and we know AND SEE that when we first arrive there. It would be a nice addition to an otherwise unkept viaduct.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Absolutely! That is what makes democracy work! People have the right to vote and voice their opinion and I will be disappointed, yes, but will graciously accept the final decision.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I believe in full transparency in all that government does and stands for.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes, I do believe in FOIA. Again, I feel that if you have nothing to hide, then don’t. That is transparency at it’s finest!
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
I do believe in transparency, however I also understand that there are certain legal procedures at the beginning stages of a prospective company coming into our area that need to be kept private. I would sign, only with the understanding that it would be for a short time. When it is appropriate, then communication should and would occur.