ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — In less than a month, people living in Rock Island will have voted for their next mayor. The consolidated election is happening April 6. Mayor Mike Thoms is running for his second term as mayor. Thurgood Brooks is his only challenger, running for public office for the first time.
Mayor Mike Thoms
Mayor Thoms took office in 2017, saying he wanted to bring economic growth to the city. He championed the idea of transparency in local government. He was also faced with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
In his January State of the City Address, Thoms said the city avoided a 6 percent or more increase in property taxes by cutting expenses at city hall.
During his time in office, Rock Island saw both a 30-day curfew in the District after a shooting downtown and now an earlier, permanent change to when bars and restaurants have to close.
Throughout his term, he's been caught in the middle of the battle for the Rock Island County Courthouse, with county leadership wanting it demolished and preservationists wanting it renovated.
Thurgood Brooks was born and raised in Rock Island, attending Rock Island Senior High School. He studied history and political science at Western Illinois University, according to his campaign page. Right now, he may be most well-known for starting "The Resolution," a multi-racial coalition concerned about racial justice and accountability.
Out of college, he started working as a banker and coached at Rocky. He then moved on to co-found Tut Cities Education & Entertainment, a community organization dedicated to creating opportunities for young people to express themselves in music, art, sports and activism.
Brooks says he's focused on building Rock Island together to serve all residents. He adds people to be empowered and proud to live in the city. He says current city leadership has looked away from areas struggling the most and wants to change that focus should he be elected.
Thurgood says his plan revolves around investing in community members, attracting small businesses and standing as a "vibrant, safe and inclusive city."