Thursday, January 22, 2009

Greg Garner to run for Gurnee Mayor

Here is a classic political move, elected official A gives individual B a start in politics, individual B demonstrates loyalty and appreciation by running against official A at first opportunity.

WAUKEGAN NEWS SUN-- GURNEE -- The village's first black trustee chose inauguration day to informally announce his candidacy for mayor of Gurnee.

During a Black Chamber of Commerce inaugural celebration in Waukegan on Tuesday, Greg Garner, 51, said he plans to challenge incumbent Mayor Kristina Kovarik in the April 7 consolidated election.

"I'm running to open the door of village government to the citizens of Gurnee," Garner said. "I'd like to bring about a more inclusive process where the ideas and opinions of our citizens are welcomed for a change."

Kovarik, also 51, appointed Garner to fill her unexpired term after she was elected mayor in 2005. She announced her bid for re-election during a charitable fund-raiser earlier this month. Neither candidate has filed nominating petitions, which are due by Jan. 26.

Garner, who won election in 2007, works as a pharmaceutical salesman. He said he's concerned with a lack of retail development in the village and cites a 22 percent drop in sales tax revenues from December 2007 to December 2008.

"Key Lime Cove is failing," said Garner, referring to the indoor water park and resort that opened a year ago. "Gurnee Mills is an outdated dinosaur. It's in decline and disrepair, even though they receive rebates for updating. The village doesn't pressure businesses to do what they are contracted to do."

Other issues Garner hopes to take up during a campaign include the lack of progress in the redevelopment of the village's east side -- Gurnee Grade School District 56 needs the revenue -- and the need for more communication between the mayor and trustees.

Garner said he liked President Barack Obama's message of inclusion and call to responsibility for all Americans.

"While it's great to be African American and elected to leadership, this (election) is about serving the people of our town," Garner said. "We need to listen to what the people want and serve their needs. That's what we're elected to do."

Besides mayor, the election will also decide three trustee seats and village clerk.

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