Macomb voters will choose who will serve as the city's mayor for the next four years when they go to the polls on April 2. Kristen-Diane (Jacqueline) Pollock is a write-in candidate in Macomb's mayoral race. Pollock is running against Mayor Mike Inman, who is seeking a third term in office.
Pollock said she brings an outsider’s view to the race, given that she has never before run for political office. Pollock has lived in Macomb for three years. She moved from Seattle, Washington. She said the first question people usually ask her is, ‘Why, Macomb?’ Pollock said she is originally from a small town and has done her time in a major metropolitan area. “I see some similarities to the area I grew up in in Macomb and some similarities to Seattle,” Pollock said.
Pollock said she has worked in the health-care, business, and transportation industries. Pollock said she volunteers with her church and also serves as the director of news, weather, and events as well as on the board of directors for WTND-FM, a community radio station.
The position of mayor is non-partisan, but when asked about political affiliation, Pollock described herself as an independent moderate, finding desirable aspects and criticisms with both major political parties.
TSPR’s interview with Kristen-Diane Pollock includes discussions about issues at Western Illinois University, the role the city in assisting WIU and Tri States Public Radio, and infrastructure needs of the community. Listen to the full interview at the audio link above and read some the interview highlights below.
Decision to run:
Pollock said she had intended to get her name on the ballot as a candidate for mayor but had difficulty getting information from city hall and missed the deadline to submit a nominating petition. So she decided to register as a write-in candidate.
Pollock said she’s unhappy with the current mayor’s performance and does not feel he has accomplished much during his eight years in office. “We hear big talk coming out of city hall right now. Big talk is not what we need,” Pollock said. “We need action. We need somebody who is going to get things done, and our current administration -- they’re not doing it.”
Pollock said she would go the extra mile for Macomb, “I want to save this town. I love this town. That’s the reason I decided to do it,” Pollock said. “It’s time to bring in some new blood.”
Pollock said her primary concern is saving Western Illinois University. “One of my first orders of business is to get an appointment with Governor Pritzker and discuss the needs of Macomb and ways to save Western Illinois [University] and keep her here in Macomb where she belongs,” Pollock said. “It’s a great institution with a 120 year history and we don’t need to lose it.”
Pollock said WIU is important to the region because it is the largest employer in town. She criticized Western’s administration for not being transparent. “No one wants to sit down and talk about what’s going on,” Pollock said.
She questioned why President Jack Thomas is still leading the university after Western faculty passed a vote of no confidence in the administration last spring. “Why wasn’t the administration wiped clean? Why did the vote get thrown out? This was the faculty and staff saying we don’t have confidence in you guys anymore. Go and bring someone else in that can put this university back where it was and where it needs to be,” Pollock said.
Pollock said if elected she would sit everyone down and say, “We’ve got a problem and we have to solve it.”
Community challenges and economic development
Pollock said there’s not enough to do locally and she often leaves Macomb during her free time. “When we want to go somewhere, there’s not really anywhere to go in Macomb so we go to Quincy, Springfield, Peoria. We go to places with malls just so we can have a variety of things to choose from that Macomb does not have,” Pollock said.
Pollock said she wants to see more retail options in the community citing a lack of choices for consumers. She wants more brick and mortar stores to the area.
Pollock said she’s willing to go the extra mile when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses. “Target, for example, that’s in Minneapolis, that’s not too far from here. Go up and try to sell them on coming here because Walmart is our only retail store if you think about it. They have a monopoly, they need some competition,” Pollock said. “I’m willing to go to these places, ‘Hi, this is Macomb, we’re a nice small town. We’re the biggest town within 50 miles of Macomb and we could use you. We could use here because your company and our community would get along fabulous.’”
Pollock said Macomb is slowly dying, “Revive Macomb, make Macomb what she used to be, bring her back to her glory days.” Pollock did not identify a specific time period as the “glory days” for Macomb, but did describe better economic conditions in the past when people were moving to the area for job opportunities.