Our Candidates

Meet the democratic candidates running in the upcoming 2021 election.

City of Rockford



City of Rockford Mayor

Tom McNamara was sworn-in as the 41st mayor of Rockford on May 1, 2017.

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Prior to becoming Mayor, Tom served the community as 3rd Ward Alderman, representing constituents on Rockford’s east and west sides, as well as downtown.  As Alderman, Tom introduced and sponsored key legislation to invest in neighborhoods, make our community safer, and protect taxpayer dollars. As Mayor, Tom focuses on developing and implementing plans to reduce crime, increase police technology and training, strengthen neighborhoods and schools, and encourage economic development. He advocates for lower tax rates and appoints members to taxing bodies who are fiscally responsible and share a likeminded responsibility to use taxpayer funding efficiently and effectively. Tom was born and raised in Rockford and is a graduate of Rockford’s Boylan Catholic High School. He earned a bachelor of science degree in sociology and criminology and a master’s degree in non-profit administration, both from John Carroll University in Cleveland.



Rockford City Council Ward 2

Jonathan is deeply involved with his community, as a teacher, an Army infantry officer, and has served as 2nd Ward Alderman since 2017.

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Currently, Jonathan is a business and career teacher at Auburn High School, and his wife, Sarah, is a newcomer teacher at East High School, helping refugee families and students transition to Rockford and the United States.  Both are proud and involved union members with the Rockford Education Association, working on behalf of students and teachers to improve education in RPS205. With a deep record of military service and faith in his family as the nephew of a Catholic priest who served as a Navy Chaplain with the 5th Marine Regiment in Desert Storm, Jonathan serves as a Company Commander in the Illinois Army National Guard, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.  Jonathan is a veteran of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.  He has served as a political activist with REA-IEA.  He has also coached JV baseball at Auburn High School and 7th Grade basketball at Kennedy Middle School.  Jonathan is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Military Officers Association of America, and the National Guard Association of the United States. Jonathan lives in the Highland neighborhood of Rockford with his wife, Sarah, and two daughters, Eleanor and Maya.





Rockford City Council Ward 4

Bryan Amezquita is running as a candidate for Rockford’s 4th Ward. He was born and raised in the Rockford area and graduated from Rock Valley College and Rockford University.

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He and his high school sweetheart were married in Rockford and they both went on to teach at RPS 205. Currently, he is a small business owner, the CEO of a local company. When Bryan is not focusing on expanding his ventures, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and their dogs. Bryan is running because he believes we need leaders that are proactively working to better our community. We need someone who knows the importance of being openly transparent in what they are working towards for the needs of our people and their best interests. Bryan’s goal is to be a main figure who will ensure Rockford continues to work on being the best city to work, invest, and raise our families. Along the way his hope is to get younger people involved with our local government and show their voices can be heard. He believes if we work together we can take pride in the place we call home.



Rockford City Council Ward 5

Gabrielle Torina is running for 5th Ward Alderman. She is a third generation Southside resident and her professional career has focused exclusively on advancing our community.

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Most recently, she worked for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Transform Rockford. In both roles, her job was to listen to residents and help them improve their lives and neighborhoods.  She was involved in several organizations that serve our community. She is on the boards of Northwest Community Center and the Wabongo Leadership Council. She also volunteers on the City of Rockford Human Services Scholarship Committee, the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee, and she Co-Chairs the Community Engagement Committee for the Family Peace Center. She wants to work with her neighbors to make South Rockford thrive! Together, let’s find new investors for the Barber Colman factory complex and improve our community with a development that puts local residents, and small and minority-owned businesses first. She has heard from several of our neighbors and they want to see more beautification, retail stores, and draw cultural attraction to the ward. She is also currently working with the Rockford Park District to expand recreational programs for both youth and adults.



Rockford City Council Ward 6

Aprel Prunty was born and raised in Rockford. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who has worked as an English teacher for Rockford Public School District 205 since 1999.

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Aprel has advanced degrees from Rockford College (now Rockford University) and Northern Illinois University. She represented the Rockford Education Association Labor Union at the Representative Assembly in Washington, DC. She has served as a presiding officer for Booker Washington Community Center, the Rockford Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and the Rockford Alumnae Chapter (RAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. At Booker, she helped Booker gain its landmark preservation status. Aprel, a Life Member of NCNW, chaired the Black Family Reunion Committee, mentored NCNW Youth, and she co-chaired the Tribute to African American Women Past and Present committee and the Annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner committee. Aprel worked with the youth from Booker, NCNW, RAC’s Delta GEMS, and Auburn High School’s Student Council and Multicultural Club. She helped found the African American Resource Center Chuck Jefferson Library and has volunteered for multiple organizations including the Rockford Branch of the NAACP where she is a Life Member. She was appointed Precinct Committee Person several times by the Winnebago County Democratic Central Committee. Currently, she is a candidate running for the 6th Ward Aldermanic seat.



Rockford City Council Ward 7

Janessa was born and raised in the 7th Ward and her parents are Janet Wilkins and the late Joseph “J.D.” Standfield.

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She owns her home outright and now she is raising her family in the same community that gave her so much love, motivation, support and preparedness to become the woman that she is today. She was an honors student at St. Paul Lutheran and Rockford Lutheran High School. She furthered her education at Grambling State University, where she received her B.A. in Mass Communications. She is now the Resource Development and Community Engagement Manager for HomeStart, a non-profit home counseling agency here in Rockford. She oversees multiple neighborhood programs, where it is her mission to create vibrant, healthy communities by connecting people and families to beneficial, affordable housing resources and by leading community based solutions.



Rockford City Council Ward 8

Karen Hoffman is the current Alderman of the 8th Ward in Rockford. From 2005 to December of 2010 she served on the Winnebago County Board.

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Her husband is Joe Hoffman, the current Chairman of the Democratic Caucus for the Winnebago County Board, serving the 14th District. Karen previously worked for the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Home. She went on to work for the Winnebago County Dept of Human Services. She also served in Belvidere and Elgin for a total of 34 years. She worked with low-income families as well as refugees and those affected by severe weather crises. Karen has served on the Community Action Board for a total of 17 years and the Head Start Board for 3 years. She is the co-founder and now President of the Rolling Green Neighborhood Association which was started in January of 2008 in response to 2 years of severe flooding and increased crime. She is also the current Board Chairman of the Rockford Housing Authority where she has served since 2013.  She is running for a second term because there is still a lot of work to be done in the 8th Ward. She has put into place multiple plans for road improvements and wants to make sure they are completed. She has worked to revitalize at least two areas of the Ward and a third area is planned for 2021.

City of Rockford. Photo by Mindy Joy Photography.


Rockford City Council Ward 9

Bill grew up in a large family that made sacrifices to ensure that education could be a priority for him and his siblings.

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Part of that upbringing also emphasized issues like supporting union families, safe neighborhoods and strong schools. Bill felt called to run for office as political leaders on the other side of the aisle attacked unions and education. Still, he believes that all Rockfordians must work together, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, to put Rockford on the map again. His willingness to be open, ethical, transparent, and put the needs of residents first will always drive his decision-making. Bill currently works as a College and Career Educator for RPS 205 and serves as a member of Northwest Development Corp. to build strong neighborhoods in Northwest Rockford.

City of Rockford. Photo by Mindy Joy Photography.


Rockford City Council Ward 11



Rockford City Council Ward 12

Gina Meeks has lived in Rockford since 2000, currently residing in Edgewater with her partner Troy, and their two kids, Carter and Caleb.

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She is currently the Strong Neighborhood Coordinator with United Way of Rock River Valley and the former Membership Director of Rockford Country Club for 7 years. She started at Chrysler’s ABD Federal Credit Union, where she helped so many working families manage their personal finances, and then she did business development work for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. Her career has allowed her to see so many different parts of our community. In her role as Strong Neighborhood Coordinator, she serves as the liaison for our neighborhood houses and helps connect the people we are helping with needed resources. She will use her strong relationships and understanding of our community to work for you on City Council. One of the most important issues facing our city is the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigate the recovery, she will ensure that businesses along the N Main St and Riverside corridors are front and center in any discussions about financial support for local businesses.

City of Rockford. Photo by Mindy Joy Photography.


Rockford City Council Ward 13

Rockford Township



Rockford Township Supervisor

Jasper St. Angel was elected Township Supervisor in 2017, following three terms as Township Trustee. In addition to serving as Township Supervisor and Trustee, Jasper was also appointed as Township Clerk to fill a vacancy in 2016.

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As Supervisor, Jasper focuses on the General Assistance Program, which provides relief for housing and basic needs on a temporary basis to individuals, while on the road to self-sufficiency. Jasper and his dedicated staff are proud to represent the township and are constantly looking for ways to improve services while reducing operating costs. Jasper publicly supports affordable housing, equal opportunity, education, fiscal responsibility, and lower taxes. Jasper and his wife Julie have two children and have been married for 30 yrs. Jasper is active in many charitable organizations and has served on the Winnebago County Board of Review, the Winnebago County Crime Commission and the Rockford Area Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee. Jasper was born and raised in Rockford, graduated from Boylan High School and earned a business and science degree from Lewis University.



Rockford Township Clerk

Rockford Township Clerk, Carl R. Wasco, has served the Township since 2015 the last 4 years as Town Clerk. Carl is a graduate of Auburn High School 1969 and attended Rock Valley College.

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He is a U.S. Navy Veteran and a graduate of Rock Valley College Carpenters Local 792 Apprenticeship Program 1976-1980 as a Journeyman Carpenter. He has been a Realtor for 30 plus years. Carl is married to Marcia (Peterson) Wasco (39 yrs) and has two sons, Joe (Kelly) Wasco and Scott (Lisa) Grulke and four grandchildren Dani, Carl, Alexis and Lindsey. Carl has served on leadership positions at Carpenters Local 792 Executive Committee and at the Rockford Area Realtors serving on many committees as chairman and is a Past President of the Rockford Area Realtors Board. Carl also has served on many Community Boards. He is proud of his community service and helping its citizens. He has enjoyed living, working and raising a family in the Rockford Area.



Rockford Township Road Commissioner

Dan was first elected as the 14th Ward Alderman in the City of Rockford in 1993 and served as alderman until 2009.

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During that time, he served on many committees including chairperson of the planning and development committee and the finance committee. Also, from 1996 to 2005, he served on the Rockford Metro Center board. In 2003, he was hired as the executive director of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council and also served on the State of Illinois prevailing wage committee. In 2009, he was elected Rockford Township Highway Commissioner which he has served for three terms.



Rockford Township Trustee

Mustafa Abdall is husband to a wonderful wife, Sahar, and dad to amazing two kids, Fatima and Hamza.

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He is a bilingual Rockfordain, a teacher, a community brother, an organizer, and a friend to achieve greater community growth and prosperity. He is running to ensure the current services of our Rockford Township can be reached by all our residents and to foster greater community inclusiveness with this agency. He is from South Asia and soon after found his love for this community; where he began his career as a RPS 205 Teacher and became a small business owner. He committed to creating a better community by serving on multiple boards, and to foster more resident civic engagement by serving in his local county Democratic Party committee. He is a strong believer in community dialogue, and ensuring we connect to our diverse community is essential; therefore, by increasing the visibility of the services to a wider range of residents we would deliver more equitable services to all. This will help us foster inclusiveness.



Rockford Township Trustee

Simon McNamara is running for Rockford Township Trustee. He has been a resident of the Rockford area for most of his life.

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He went to school here and graduated from Boylan High School in 1985. He then attended Rock Valley College. He has been a member of Teamster Local 710 for 36 years, working at UPS for most of that time. For the past 6 years he has been a Business Agent for Teamster Local 710. Simon is running for Rockford Township Trustee to add more quality leadership to an already well run governmental body. He wants to take his leadership qualities and be part of the decision making process for our community. He wants to help make Rockford a better place to live.



Rockford Township Trustee

Harlem Township



Harlem Township Supervisor

​Terri L. Knight was voted in as Harlem Township Clerk in 1981. She served in that position until 1985 until she became a Harlem Trustee in 2005-2011.

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She was appointed as Harlem Township Supervisor in 2011 and currently serves at that position. Terri has deep roots in the community. She has lived in the same house, in Harlem Township, for over 30 years, with her husband Charles Knight. She has 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. She serves on several boards and is the Chairman of the non-for-profit Toys for Kids program, which is a holiday program for low income families. Her duties and responsibilities include, service as Chairman of Township Board of Trustees, Supervisor the General Assistance Program and Treasurer for the Road District. She oversees two parks, Schoonmaker and Dennis Johnson Park and the efficient running of Harlem Township as a whole.



Harlem Township Assessor

Jon Vaiden was appointed as Harlem Township Assessor on January 1, 2020 following 14 years of service to the Assessor’s office.

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Prior to serving as the Assessor, Jon acted as the Deputy Assessor in Harlem Township since 2006. During his 14-year career in the Assessor’s office, Jon has shown a commitment to continuously educating himself to better serve his constituents. He has attended numerous seminars and courses, taken certification exams, and has logged more than 300 hours through the Department of Revenue. Jon has been a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer since 2013. Jon is a lifelong resident of Harlem Township and graduated from Harlem High School in 1995. As the Assessor, Jon looks forward to serving the constituents of Harlem Township now and in the future.



Harlem Township Road Commissioner

Ed Tegland serves as the Harlem Township Highway Commissioner having been appointed to fill the vacancy in 2019.

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As the Harlem Township Highway Commissioner, Ed is focused on the safe and efficient construction and maintenance of all roads and bridges in the district. He is proud to lead a department with highly dedicated and qualified team members. Ed was raised in Machesney Park, graduated from Harlem High School, and served in the Marine Corps. After returning from duty, he worked as the union representative for the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 6 and served on numerous community committees. As a township official, Ed is dedicated to serving the people in his community and meeting their needs for quality roads. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out.



Harlem Township Trustee

Linda has been a resident of Machesney Park for 48 years.

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She was on the Harlem School Board for 8 years and has been on Harlem School Township 20 years. She is the mother of 5 beautiful children, grandmother to fifteen grandchildren. and great grandmother to one granddaughter. She is running for trustee because she loves her job. She has helped with keeping our parks up so our township residents have places to go to to do things with there families. We kept our residents to make sure there money is for them. That’s why she is there for the residents of our Township.