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The city of Peru has no shortage of candidates for the four aldermen seats up for election on April 9.
Nine candidates, including four sitting aldermen, are seeking votes for the four seats.
The city council has eight aldermen representing four wards, two per ward. The spring election every two years decides the seats of four aldermen, one per ward, and alternates that way every two years.
The last time Peru aldermen ran unopposed was in 2009, with Joe Mikyska in Ward 2 and Ron Wren in Ward 4.
Below are the candidates for each ward, with the names presented in the format and the order they will appear on the ballot April 9.
Ward 1 Regardless of who you vote for this spring in Ward 1, both candidates will serve as aldermen.
The election in Ward 1 is unconventional this year due to redrawn boundaries based on the 2010 Census. Redistricting shifted Ward 1 Alderman Mike Radtke’s home into Ward 2, leaving his Ward 1 seat vacant.
The other Ward 1 seat is up for election this year, with incumbent Tony Ferrari facing Becky Mueller. However, after the election, they will draw by lottery to decide who serves a four-year term and who serves the remaining two years in Radtke’s vacated Ward 1 seat.
Tony Ferrari, 54, was first elected alderman in 2001. He is a motor repairman and truck driver for Inman Electric Inc.
Ferrari said his top issue and his reason for running are the same: “I want to see Peru continue to move in the right direction.”
Becky Mueller, 55, is managing broker and owner of River Valley properties.
Why are you running? “I chose to run for alderman so that I may serve the community on a larger scale. My hope is to provide support for our citizens and elected officials, search out practical solutions to our challenges and promote growth for our future.”
Top issue: “Economic growth and business development. Good paying, full-time jobs are the key. We must find a way to keep young, educated and skilled labor in the area by providing a solid community in which to raise their families.”
Ward 2 The election in Ward 2 was affected by redrawn ward boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
Ward 1 Alderman Mike Radtke’s home is now in Ward 2 so he is running for the Ward 2 seat now held by Sherry Mayszak. If Radtke loses, he can serve the remaining two years of his current term as an at-large alderman. This would give the city nine aldermen after the election on April 9.
Sherry Mayszak, 50, is an administrative assistant for a Peru accounting office, Michael J. McNamara & Associates. She was appointed in Ward 2 in 2011 to replace the late Joe Mikyska.
Why are you running? “I have enjoyed helping people since I was appointed. I am running to be able to continue to help people and to ensure that all Peru residents and business owners are treated fairly. I believe I look at both sides of an issue and then make the most fair decision. I listen to people and if something impacts them negatively, I try to find a compromise.”
Top issue: “Community. I believe so much can be done to enhance our community: making downtown more visually appealing, having summer and fall festivals, bringing back a downtown Christmas walk and an outdoor swimming pool. We have restaurants and shopping to bring in people from other towns, which is good, but we need to do more for our residents.”
Mike Radtke, 36, is a chemical engineer and production manager at Pilkington, Ottawa. He was elected as alderman in 2011 in Ward 1.
Why are you running? “I enjoy it.”
Further, redrawn boundaries forced Radtke into a quandary. Normally, he would not be running this year; but redistricting placed his home in Ward 2.
Top issue: “There’s a lot coming down the line, unfunded pension liability and debt. You’ve got to try to protect people.”
Ward 3 Mike Sapienza, 66, is a retired school teacher and military veteran who has lived his whole life in Ward 3. He earned a masters degree at Illinois State University. He owns a few rental properties in Peru.
Why are you running? “I’ve always felt a responsibility nurtured in the deep roots that my family and I have here in Peru. I finally find myself in a position to help the 3rd Ward see many long overdue improvements. I can bring us together along with helping others in the city come together to keep us ‘The Leader of the Valley.’”
Top issue: “Our 3rd Ward’s infrastructure is in dire need of attention. Neighborhoods are being neglected, our city needs its own pool, to mention just a few of our concerns. We’ve come a long way in the last few years but together we can do so much more. All these things take a cooperative and creative effort and someone that can and is willing to bring people together. I am the creative problem solver for this job.”
Robert Ankiewicz, 66, is co-owner of Ankiewicz’s Deli & Dairy, Peru and has served as Peru alderman since 1999. He retired from the U.S. Navy after 32 years.
Why are you running? “I want to be re-elected and continue the growth of the city of Peru, and take care of the citizens in the 3rd Ward and in the city of Peru. I think they’ve been taken care of pretty well. I want to take care of the citizens as they see fit and necessary and I’d like to take care of the parks.”
Top issue: “To be moving in a forward direction with growth in the area.”
Ward 4 Steve Weberski, 54, is project manager for Environ International, managing water treatment operations at the Exxon Mobil Superfund site in DePue. Weberski ran for alderman in 2011 in Ward 4 and lost to incumbent Dave Potthoff.
Why are you running? “Because I believe I have the work experience and expertise to help improve my city right now and also in planning for the future success of Peru.”
Top issue: “Major infrastructure improvement projects that will have to be made in order to move our city forward. Resurfacing streets is a good start but major underground work on water and sewer mains must become a high priority in order to provide for the future needs of residential, industrial, and commercial customers.”
Jim Lukosus, 62, is owner of Lukosus Laundries and works at Illinois Valley Community College as institutional representative for the athletic department and as head golf coach. He was appointed in 2011 by Mayor Scott Harl to fill the seat of the late Ron Wren.
Why are you running? “I am running to continue the public works projects that have been started within the last two years. These projects include the updates in our infrastructure such as storm water and sanitary sewer separation, street and curb program and the start of the residential sidewalk program.”
Top issue: “The above-mentioned would be my lead issue along with the acquisition and demolition of the abandoned hotels along Interstate 80, the front door to our community.”
Justin Loger, 27, is a warehouse associate. In 2011, he was one of 11 residents who submitted letters of intent to be named as replacement for Wren. Mayor Scott Harl appointed Jim Lukosus.
Why are you running? “The most important reason, I feel, is because I was asked to run. Several people noticed my involvement with municipal politics, my ability to relate with people and help resolve their issues and recommended I pursue this further.”
Top issue: “The main issue on my mind is how we as a city can more proactively and aggressively market Peru as the best municipality to invest capital in. “I want to help Peru become the main hub for business activity in the Illinois Valley, not just another option.”
Reporter Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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