ROCHELLE — The race is on for mayor of Rochelle after four-term incumbent Chet Olson and current Rochelle councilman John Bearrows have both announced their intentions of running for the post.
Candidate packets for mayor and council are available in the Rochelle City Clerk’s office, and as of Thursday morning, only Olson and Bearrows have picked up petitions for mayor.
Olson, who has been Rochelle Mayor since 2003, announced his candidacy on Wednesday and is pointing to economic growth in Rochelle under his leadership over the past 16 years.
“Rockford Register Star’s Chuck Sweeney stated in his July 31, 2014 column speaking about Rochelle, ‘There’s such a positive energy in the small city of 9,500 that you can feel it,’” Olson stated. “I believe in slow, steady, intelligent growth, job creation and improving city services that serve the community’s needs and puts Rochelle on the map.”
Olson currently serves on the Board of the Illinois Municipal League, Illinois Century Network Policy Board and Northern Illinois Mayor Association. Olson has been a long time participant and supporter of Senior’s services, Hispanic culture development, youth programs, and citizen involvement. He is a member of St. Patrick’s Parish, the Rochelle VFW, Rochelle Moose, Rochelle Kiwanis and Rochelle Kiwanis Golden K.
Olson lives in Rochelle with his wife of 41 years, Kathy. He has two daughters, Hilary (Steve) Bloch and Emily (Brad) Schabacker and four grandchildren.
Bearrows announced his intent to run for mayor of Rochelle on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
“I am pleased to announce that I have picked up my petition and intend to be a candidate for the spring of 2019 election for Mayor of the City of Rochelle,” Bearrows said. “This decision comes following the encouragement and support of local people, and I look forward to the opportunity and challenges that come with the position. After being on city council as a councilman, I have gained insight as to possible changes and challenges as our community grows and moves forward, and my hope is to continue to assist with that movement in a positive way as mayor. I will bring my 44 years of business experience dealing with not only the general public and personnel, and importantly, financial decisions, and apply them to the governing of the City of Rochelle.”
He is a lifelong resident of Rochelle, self-employed auctioneer/owner of Bearrows Real Estate & Auction Co. since 1975, and managing broker for REMAX Hub City.
Bearrows has served as past president of the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District, past member of Rochelle Elementary School Board #231, president of the Flagg Center Cemetery Board and has been involved with many community projects throughout the area.
The mayoral and council election is set for April 2, 2019