Full Name: Robert Hasty
What office are you seeking? Mayor of Ottawa, IL
What is your political party? non-partisan
What is your current age? 46
Occupation and Employer: Self-Employed Insurance Agent
What offices, if any, have you previously held? none
Campaign Website: www.hasty4mayor.com
Education: St. Patrick’s Grade School, Ottawa, Township High School, Illinois valley Community College, Illinois State University
Community involvement: I have been a member of Ottawa Noon Rotary for twelve years and served on their board for six years. During that time, I was the Club President in 2016-2017 and also served as the Secretary and Treasurer. I deeply identify with Rotary’s Motto of “Service above Self” and I choose to take Rotary out into the world with me.
Over the past 16 years I’ve served on many committees and boards including the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce board and Membership and Public Policy committees, the Ottawa Network of Young Executives board, the “Black and White Ball” Committee for the Starved Rock Regional Center for Childhood Development, and an Executive Director for the Starved Rock Country Festival of the Arts in 2019. In 2022 I became Chairman for the City of Ottawa’s Flood Mitigation Committee where my Agency has served since 2013.
I was a committee member for the City of Ottawa’s “Morel Festival” where I created and organized the first Annual Homebrew Festival that brought craft beer enthusiasts to our community from as far away as Springfield, Indiana and Wisconsin
In 2017 I co-founded Run Starved Rock Country NFP which hosts the annual Starved Rock Country Marathon. Over the last five years we’ve donated thousands of dollars towards local projects encouraging Endurance Tourism like the re-watering of the I&M Canal and the refurbishing of the Starved Rock State Park trails and pathways.
Currently I’m a board member of the Ottawa Township High School Foundation and the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. Both organizations are close to my heart because they are the embodiment of what it can mean to give back to your community.
This year I was also humbled to receive the Ethyl M. Strong “Ambassador of the Year Award” in recognition of my commitment, dedication, and tireless efforts of service as an Ambassador for Ottawa.
At home our motto is “Be Good, Do Good”. I remind my daughters each morning as they head off to school. Eleanor spearheaded a project in 2021 to bring permanent Chess tables to Washington Park and with her sister Iris, hosts biweekly “Chess n’ Checkers in the Park.” As a family we love our community. It’s why I’ve continued to volunteer my time and efforts and my wife Amy spends much of her free time maintaining the gardens and flower beds around the Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial and along Main Street where we live.
I plan to continue to serve our community and I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve made. I hope you will vote for me in April 2023
Marital status/Immediate family: I’ve been married to Amy Hasty, DVM for 25 years and we have two daughters, Eleanor age 14 and Iris Mae age 12
Why are you running for office?
I believe in service to our community. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with so many talented people in Ottawa. I want to assure that Ottawa moves forward with a comprehensive vision for the future. That when developing the Riverfront, the I&M Canal, City Pool and other improvements, we’re doing so with a purpose that not only keeps them accessible to the public but offers programming that will help make them sustainable.
I want to make sure that our City has an Open Door policy that relies on Public meetings and community input when developing plans and major projects for our City. I would like to re-establish public, annual State of the City addresses and I plan to embrace and enforce our open bid process for city contracts and assure transparency to avoid the stigma of favoritism.
Finally, I would like to emphasize the importance of Ottawa’s Rich History and use it as a source of pride for our community. That, in part, will be accomplished by redeveloping and enriching the legacy of the festivals and traditions that made our “Friendly City” what it is today.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I opened my insurance agency 16 years ago from “scratch” with my very first client being my parents. Since then, I’ve built it into one of the most well-respected agencies in Farmers Insurance Group. While doing that, I’ve worked on a number of boards and committees and have a proven track-record of success and getting things done. During this time, I’ve also cultivated a number of relationships that have allowed me the ability to work with other business owners and leaders to find solutions to problems and help our community.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
I don’t have a political position as a candidate for Mayor however I personally believe it’ll eventually be overturned in Court.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
I believe that we have an average amount of petty crime for a community of our size. As Mayor, I plan to work with our Police and Emergency services to assure they’re receiving the most up-to-date training and equipment available to help assist them in their work.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I believe that our community adhered to the guidelines mandated by the State of Illinois as best we could and that our municipality, businesses and law enforcement worked together well to overcome what was an unfortunate situation for many people.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned that we as a community are resilient and able to adapt to situations. I also learned that we truly care and are willing to do what needs to be done to not only help our neighbors but our small businesses.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
I plan to spur economic development by producing multi-faceted improvements to our different projects within the City’s comprehensive plan that will help to cohesively tie them together and build more interest from Tourists to our community. I will also aggressively pursue things like the projected Passenger Rail to allow for easier commute between more metropolitan areas.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
Local government should do everything they can to assure that they’re acting fiscally responsible with the taxes their given. local governments should also be looking for creative alternatives to generate income to help alleviate the tax burden on residents.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
I support recreational marijuana however feel that a portion of the income generated should be earmarked for things like drug rehabilitation and supporting local shelters.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
I feel that the development of the Riverfront is crucial to our city’s future. I plan to develop it in a manner that capitalizes, much like Starved Rock State Park, on the 5 metropolitan areas that are within an hour drive of us.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
I will accept the voters’ decision regardless of the outcome and it will not hinder my willingness, win or lose, to put service above self.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
Everybody wants open, transparent government. That however can be interpreted in a number of ways. in our community, I feel that it’s by having a process that’s open to the public and encourages dialogue and input. That is a transparent government that I support.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
I feel in certain circumstances it’s vital to do that for the safety of not only the private company but also the community. That said, I would be eager to always disclose as much as I’m able to.