ROCHELLE — Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows said Wednesday that he plans to run for a second term in 2023.
Bearrows was elected in 2019 after serving on the Rochelle City Council. He cited his desire to see projects from his first term completed as part of his reasoning for running again. Among the projects mentioned were work on housing and seeing a daycare open and operating in the city.
“I want to see COVID-19 behind us and do some more of the things that a mayor does,” Bearrows said. “Like when you work on projects and meet with developers, you become restrained when people are nervous about getting together. Yeah you can do Zoom meetings, but it’s good to get in a room and kick ideas around. And with people like housing investors, they’ve been reluctant to invest due to uncertainty of the market. But I think things are starting to get better.”
The pandemic started just after the beginning of Bearrows’ term. He’s proud of the work the city has done during it.
“During the pandemic, our staff and leadership have been supportive of our COVID-19 programs,” Bearrows said. “Getting through that was as important as anything we’ve done. I’m very proud of what we did. Those were things that we had to do. I was getting my feet planted as mayor just before the pandemic. I did what I needed to do. I think we came through it well as a community.”
Bearrows said there are several things he’s proud of that have been accomplished during his term. They include working on opening another railroad transload station after Global III closed, seeing Project Jackpot fill the Nippon Sharyo buildings, pushing utilities under both Interstate 88 and 39 for the new Love’s and Pilot truck stops, a boundary agreement with the Village of Creston, purchasing the old Johnson Tractor building to consolidate city staff and approving an intergovernmental agreement with Ogle-Lee Fire for a training facility for fire, police and Rochelle Municipal Utilities employees.
“There’s a lot going on and I’m excited about a second term,” Bearrows said.
Bearrows called his time as mayor so far “very gratifying.” He said he was “totally embraced” by city staff and they’ve made his work as mayor easy.
“We have a great team,” Bearrows said. “We have the right people in the right places.”
Years before serving as mayor and as a council member, Bearrows lived outside of the city limits. He recalls when he used to say he should move into town and run for office.
“I always wanted to,” Bearrows said. “And then I did and ran for city council and it felt right. I wanted to provide leadership. I feel I have. I truly enjoy what I’m doing and it’s been very gratifying. I want myself and my kids to be able to look back on what I’ve done and helped to do as mayor and be proud of it.”