Meet the candidates and register to vote in April 6 election

Local elections for Edwardsville city mayor and new members of the city council will soon be underway. Polls at various Madison County precincts will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m on Tuesday, April 6. 

If you aren’t registered to vote, you can fill out the Online Voter Registration Application on the Illinois State Board of Elections website to register online. You can also register by mail after filling out an application available on the Madison County Clerk’s Office website, or you can register in person at the County Clerk’s Office at 157 North Main Street, Edwardsville IL, 62025. 

If you are registered to vote, you can also visit the Madison County Clerk’s Office website to find your local polling place. Under the “Voter Registration” page, you can find answers to more frequently asked voter registration questions. 

If you’re unsure of your voter registration status in Madison County, you can verify it through the Madison County Clerk’s Office website and receive a specimen ballot with the candidates listed to use for your own reference.

EDWARDSVILLE MAYOR

Stephanie Malench

  • Age: 45

  • Current Occupation: Editor and Reporter for the Troy Times Tribune

  • Other civic involvement / community service: Formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Glen-Ed Food Pantry and former member of the Junior Service Club of Edwardsville/Glen Carbon. Founded BringYourOwnGlenEd, a local grassroots organization which advocates for the use of reusable materials instead of single-use plastics. Currently involved in St. Jacob Lions Club, the Edwardsville Cool Cities Initiative Advisory Committee and the Metro East Area Online Kiwanis Club. 

  • Relevancy of experience: “I know what effective and what ineffective governments look like from having covered various meetings … I’ve seen what it looks like when the trustees or aldermen or representatives are working together, and I’ve seen what it looks like when they’re not working together. I see what it’s like when they have a good long-range plan, I’ve seen what happens when they’re just kind of doing nothing.”

  • Reason(s) for running: “I am running for mayor because I am not satisfied with the direction that Edwardsville has been going in lately with expanding … Their current city plan is to, by 2035, they want to have 35,000 residents — which, when you break it down from where we are now, that’s adding over 2,000 residents a year — and that is not sustainable ... My own plan for the city is to rehabilitate and fix up the current parts of the city. Our infrastructure is out of date; the sewers, the gutters, the sidewalks, the streets are falling apart.”

  • Biggest issues facing Ward 6 / Edwardsville: “We also have plenty of empty restaurants, business offices, zoned commercial land that has been sitting for a long time that has not been developed. Housing is a big thing … if you go on Zillow or any of those things, the average apartment is $1,500. That’s cost-prohibitive to anyone except for college students that are willing to have three or four students living [there] splitting the rent. You can’t put a new family with one or two parents and kids in a situation like that, they just can’t afford that. And the houses, you can’t find a reasonably priced house in Edwardsville anymore.”

  • Top priorities if elected: “My top priorities would be fixing the interior of the city, getting help for small businesses, affordable housing and then there’s also an area off of Chain of Rocks Road and Sand Road — all of that area, the city carved around it when they built the warehouses off of 255. I would like to eventually annex that area, make them residents of the city and give them real infrastructure.” 

  • What else voters should know: “My family have been life-long residents of Edwardsville. My father and my uncle were two of the first physicians in Edwardsville and they helped get Anderson Hospital built. They were the first doctors there.”

Art Risavy

  • Age: 49

  • Current Occupation: Owner of Swing City Music 

  • Other civic involvement / community service: Ward 7 alderman and precinct committeeman 

  • Relevancy of experience: “I have served the city for over 10 years as alderman, and I own a local family business that has been serving the area since 1965. This background has given me the experience needed to guide the city through the next four years.”

  • Reason(s) for running: “I have been Ward 7 alderman for the past 10 years. I have been chairman of the Finance Committee and Administrative and Community Services Committee. I am the owner of Swing City Music, a family owned business since 1965 with locations in Edwardsville and Collinsville. Because of these experiences, I am prepared to navigate the city through the next four years so that Edwardsville remains a great place to live, raise your family, work and run your business. I am running because I truly care about this city and the citizens who make Edwardsville their home.”

  • Biggest issues facing Ward 6 / Edwardsville: “We have many important issues facing our city in the next four years ... I would say to continue the city’s momentum and find a sense of normalcy as we come out of this pandemic. I have had the great opportunity to work with two mayors, three city administrators, dedicated department heads and city employees, and most of all, the citizens of Edwardsville. As we come out of this pandemic, I want to see our business rebound and get back to life as we once knew it.”

  • Top priorities if elected: “I want to see our businesses succeed, volunteer organizations thrive, churches back to full capacity, schools back to in-person learning, sports activities back to normal, parks and trails crowded with people and everyone back to the day-to-day activities that make our city great. We are an active city, and we support each other in many ways, and that’s my top issue in this race.”

SOURCE: Belleville News-Democrat

ALDERMAN - WARD 2

Jack Burns

  • Age: 74

  • Current Occupation: Ward 2 alderman (incumbent)

  • Other civic involvement / community service: President of Sugar Creek Homeowners Association. Honorary commander for Scott Air Force Base. Serves on the board of directors for the Main Street Community Center based in Edwardsville. 

  • Relevancy of experience: “I have great experience in management, I’ve owned my own companies and I’m very empathetic — I do not make snap decisions, so I think I’m very good at what I do. I’ve responded to my constituents very rapidly and I just want to continue doing that.”

  • Reason(s) for running: “I enjoy serving my constituents. I just think Edwardsville is a great town and I want to see it continue to be a great town. I promote controlled growth, I also want to make sure we do things that are environmentally friendly; I’ve been an environmentalist all my life, a very strong one.”  

  • Accomplishments from most recent term: “In my ward, I was able to get three subdivision roads resurfaced, we’ve increased our park space by 218 acres in the past 7 years, we’ll be at about 316 acres of park space … I also was instrumental and played a major part in selling the bonds at Plummer Park and hooked them up with an institution that bought all the bonds. I’m proud of the Skate Center we’re going to be putting in, I think that will generate a lot of activity and support our local students with after-hour activity events.”

  • Top priorities if elected: “The tax rates, I don’t want to increase them. I think our taxes are extremely high. I also want to maintain and improve our infrastructure: sidewalks, streets, storm sewers, that’s an investment in the community. Also, public safety; we’ve got an excellent fire and police department, I just want to make sure we continue to support that. And I want to see the fire station completed ... the east side of our city needs a new fire station to serve the residents there and to service potential future growth out there.” 

  • What else voters should know: “I think one of the interesting things is that my wife is a retired schoolteacher for the Edwardsville school system and we’ve lived in Edwardsville 28 years. The interesting thing is that my degree is from Edwardsville, my wife has a master’s from Edwardsville, both of my sons have their degrees from SIUE … and both of their wives have degrees from Edwardsville, so we are big supporters of SIUE.”

Yolanda Crochrell

  • Age: 54

  • Current Occupation: 21st Century Program Director with Madison Community Unit School District 12. Executive Director and Vice President of the Quad City Community Development Center.

  • Currently Held Office: Serves on the precinct committee for Precinct 26 in Edwardsville. Commissioner for the Madison County Housing Authority.

  • Other civic involvement / community service:  Administrator, event planner, evangelist, trustee and deaconess for Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church. Member of the Edwardsville NAACP. Committee member of the YWCA in Alton, Illinois.

  • Relevancy of experience: “I’ve worked with multiple companies. I’m a trustee, I deal with money. I’m a commissioner, I make tough decisions every day ... So with all of these experiences that I’ve had, which is over 25 years of experience in management and problem solving, I believe that I would make a good alderman for Edwardsville, and I would be able to bring to the table a Black perspective as a Black woman and also be able to cross the aisle to work with all people, whether Black, brown or white.”

  • Reason(s) for running: “We need diversity. If we’re speaking on diversity for Edwardsville, period, we have no diversity on our council. We need diversity in our police departments. You know, we are better if we work together. And myself as a Black woman, I cannot speak on diversity if I’m not willing to open up to my white brothers and sisters or my brown brothers and sisters. Diversity to me means a collaborative of all of us, we’re like a melting pot, and our council board doesn’t look like that.” 

  • Biggest issues facing Ward 2 / Edwardsville: “Safety is a very great concern of mine because we do not have a walking trail or a bike trail that links or connects to Ward 2, and in March, when COVID hit and … people were walking around and exercising, they were walking along the shoulders of highway 157, which is dangerous; we’ve had multiple accidents happen there ... Another thing is safety in the wards because there’s been car thefts right out of people[‘s] garages, right out of people[‘s] driveways.”

  • Top priorities if elected: “The first item that I would put on my list is to make sure that we have those walking and bike trails connected to Ward 2; to make sure that we have quality and inclusion and diversity for all, not just for one race, for all races; to maintain and continue to repair our streets in Ward 2; also, to partner with law enforcement for safety issues ... in our community.”

  • What else voters should know: “If I am elected to be [their] alderman, there’s one thing I want them to understand: that I will always have the line of communication and responsibility to my constituents, because that’s who we work for, that’s who we communicate to and that’s who we should be having good outcomes with, especially in [our] wards.”

ALDERMAN - WARD 6

Jennifer Warren

  • Age: 43

  • Current Occupation: Banker

  • Other civic involvement / community service: Previously served on United Way Greater St. Louis’s allocations committee and executive board. Currently involved with the Edwardsville Rotary Club, Nickel Plate Station restoration project, and current member of the board for Watershed Nature Center

  • Relevancy of experience: “While I don’t have direct city government experience, I do have over 20 years in a professional industry and I’ve held a managerial role for at least 15 of those 20 years. And between that and just having to be a good, effective communicator and also effectively manage projects, I think those are skills that will translate well to a role of this nature. And in addition to that, my husband and I do own a small business, so I do have quite a bit of knowledge about the tax burdens that small businesses face.”

  • Reason(s) for running: “[I’m] essentially just kind of taking pride in the quality of life that we enjoy here. Parks, schools, real estate developments, I personally feel, are a result of good decisions and effective management from the current city and former staff and officials. And this election, it seems like there’s going to be some significant change to local government, and so it was an opportunity to ensure that those things continue.”

  • Biggest issues facing Ward 6 / Edwardsville: “For Ward 6 specifically, I think that shared green space is important. Ward 6 is home to some of our more modern parks, but safe access to a lot of them is really only available via a car. I also think the I-55 corridor development is going to significantly increase traffic through the ward, and I think that needs really careful planning and consideration.”

  • Top priorities if elected: “Green space, trail accessibility, those types of things would be something I would hope to focus on … Some of the environmental concerns, I think that particularly within Ward 6 ... just revitalizing some of the homes. There’s discussion about the different homes that are affordable within the city, and I think there’s a lot of homes that could be revitalized and repurposed, and that would have a better environmental footprint to do things like that than to always move towards new developments.” 

  • What else voters should know: “We do try to host a virtual Ward 6 Wednesday — it’s not necessarily just for Ward 6 people, that’s just what we call it because I’m running to represent Ward 6 — so if people have questions or other things they want to talk about, we try to host those every wednesday, you can sign up for those on the website at jenward6.net … And if I am elected, that’s something we hope to continue in some fashion, whether it would become a monthly thing or something like that, just to kind of keep that communication portal open.”

Larry J. Miller

  • Age: 72

  • Current Occupation: Retired from U.S. Air Force in 1989 and U.S. Postal Service in 2011

  • Other civic involvement / community service: Edwardsville Planning Commission member from 2013-2017; Madison County Emergency Management Operations and Logistics volunteer; Madison County Community Emergency Response Team volunteer (instructor); Edwardsville VFW Post 1299 commander; American Legion Post 199 Americanism chairman, (includes Boys State program, School Awards program and member of Department of Illinois State American Legion Legislative Commission); Boy Scout troop committee member and merit badge counselor.

  • Reason(s) for running: “It is my desire to serve the public. I’ve been serving the public most of my life, first as an active duty military member and later as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service.”

  • Biggest issues facing Ward 6 / Edwardsville: “I don’t know that a top issue has been identified. There have been discussions on inclusion, equity and housing, and I believe that the committee on Race Relations and Equality in Edwardsville questionnaire and report have brought several items to light that need to be addressed. Increasing the representation and focus on the city’s Human Relations Commission should have an impact on addressing and correcting those issues. I also think the video-gaming issue needs to be revisited and allowed in those establishments identified by state law, short of allowing video-gaming parlors. Video gaming is a potential source of revenue for the city that should be explored.”

  • What else voters should know: “I have a willingness to serve the people of Ward 6 and the city of Edwardsville. I intend to listen to the residents of the ward and take a sensible approach to issues as they arise.”

SOURCE: Belleville News-Democrat

S.J. Morrison is unopposed for re-election as Ward 4 alderman. Mayoral candidate Art Risavy and city council candidate Larry Miller could not be reached for comment.

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