DIXON – Dixon Mayor Liandro “Li” Arellano Jr. announced Friday morning he was running in the Republican primary for state representative in the 74th District.
“Absolutely knew this was something I wanted to pursue,” said Arellano, who will focus on rural economic development, building on his experiences with the Illinois Municipal League board of directors, the Lee-Ogle Enterprise Zone board and the Lee County Industrial Development Association.
“For many rural districts there is a need to find a balanced approach to economic development,” Arellano said. “We want to stay modern and relevant.”
As a legislator, that means lobbying for things the region needs, providing fair representation. Arellano said advocating for what works in this region, which differs from urban interests, will be key.
He also talked about the property tax burden that affects recruitment of industry, noting that southern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa are often more attractive when businesses are looking for new locations.
Late in 2021 Arellano had indicated he would seek higher office.
He said Friday he waited for the redistricting process and for the election intentions of fellow Republicans to be known. Rep. Tom Demmer said he will run for state treasurer and Rep. Tony McCombie said she will seek the seat in the redrawn 89th District.
Arellano said that should he secure the party nomination and gain election, he would serve out the remaining two months of this mayoral term in the spring of 2023, as allowed by state statute. This would spare the city for the need to hold a special election, thus creating an even contest for the next mayoral race.
Arellano’s second term of mayor has been marked by advancement on long term projects, such as the riverfront cleanup and the Dixon expansion south to Interstate 88. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in this term,” Arellano said. “We’re finishing up the I-88 work, still working on that. That’s the last big project to feel I’d fulfilled my promises.”
Elected mayor in 2015, Arellano ran on a pledge to address fiscal responsibility in the aftermath of the discovery of Rita Crundwell’s $54 million fraud and embezzlement. Paying down pension debt and implementing the new form of city government approved by voters were early challenges.
Arellano attended University of Michigan and then enlisted in the Army in 2003 and served three combat tours. He was in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005, Baghdad, Iraq in 2009 and Saudi Arabia in 2019. He is a sergeant with the 317th Engineer Construction Company based in Homewood.
He owns and operates Jimmy John’s restaurants in Dixon and Rock Falls, is a majority owner of Frosted Spoon Frozen Yogurt in Rock Falls and with his wife, Jamie, runs a commercial leasing company.
Arellano said he is prepared to serve in the minority party. “I’ve reached out and talked to Republicans that have had good results down in Springfield,” he said. “I’ll have to hone that skill, to politically disagree but on those topics we agree, sit down and get things done.”
The 74th includes parts of Lee, Whiteside, Ogle, DeKalb, and La Salle counties.