By Bob Balgemann


Incumbent Mayor Mike Chamberlain is being challenged by a Boone County Board member, Jeff Carlisle, in his bid for re-election to a third four-year term leading the city.

They will square off in the Feb. 23 Republican primary election with the winner moving on to the April 6 consolidated election, where he will face Independent candidate Clint Morris.

The two primary opponents first were asked similar questions. The mayor was asked why he decided to seek re-election; Carlisle was asked what prompted him to run for mayor. They both were asked a second question: Why should voters select you?

Mayor Chamberlain

Here are Chamberlain’s responses to the first question:

“It seems like only yesterday that I was elected to a second term as mayor of our fine city. My enthusiasm, working to build a bigger and better future for the people of Belvidere, has not waned. I love my work, shoulder to shoulder with our community. I am still excited to come to work in the morning, serving all of our citizens.

“Belvidere is a wonderful community of faith, family and friendship. We have a tremendous heritage to build on as we move into a challenging future. There are many initiatives and projects in progress that I want to see to fruition. Our community has forged a reputation for innovation and initiative that is noted on a regional, state, national, and international basis. Working together with all of these partners promises a growing and upwardly mobile potential for all of us.

“Your mayor has learned a great deal during his eight years as an alderman, and serving as mayor pro tem during that time. My first two terms as mayor have further broadened my knowledge of municipal operations, administration, and governance … there is still much more I can learn to better serve our people and that is my intent, in serving another term as mayor of Belvidere.

“Belvidere and Boone County folks are strong and resilient, with an ethic built on hard work, fairness, and the rule of law. We will continue our upward path into the future, facing and overcoming even the hardest tests we encounter. I eagerly await the honor of serving our community for another four years.”

Here is the mayor’s response to question No. 2:

“Today’s environment requires proven leadership with a steady hand and a documented record of success. Despite many of our current challenges, I feel very positive about Belvidere’s future. There is good news to be shared. We have been prudent with our spending, have managed our resources well, and are positioned for continued success now, and in the future. We have maintained a balanced budget every year since I was elected mayor in 2013. We do not spend money we do not have. These principles are a priority to me.

“My successful business background has been instrumental in my ability to manage city services and work with our existing business community, as well as attracting new businesses to Belvidere and Boone County. We have accomplished much. Since 2013, we have completed public works projects valued at $26,773,914. There has been nearly $1,500,000,000 in industrial growth, resulting in the creation of 3,500 new full time jobs. Since 2018, there has been over $62,000,000 in new capital investment in the Enterprise Zone, resulting in over 1,500 new full time jobs. These are verifiable, hard facts.

“We will endure through the challenges of COVID-19. Our Belvidere Community has more than risen to the challenges we have faced. The exceptional courage and teamwork of our first responders, citizens, businesses, and local government have been extraordinary. No one went hungry or lacked shelter. There have been too many unselfish acts of kindness to detail here.

“I love our community and the people in it, and will continue to be a ‘Mayor for All the People.’ I am grateful and honored to serve as your Mayor and committed to providing the positive leadership needed to keep us moving forward. I humbly ask for your continued support.”

Jeff Carlisle

Here is challenger Carlisle’s response to the first question: why are you running for mayor?

“I had attended many city meetings at the request of my neighbors in District II, asking about the large projects being presented. I discovered from listening and reading the presentation details, I found illuminating missing structure was not fully developed. The taxpayers’ dime was at stake as the current administration was requesting council to consider moving forward. This is why I wanted to run for this position, as in my training in federal aviation, this type of process would not be tolerated. You must drill down with logical reasoning and reveal the missing structure, which is presented, bring all that forward to council, let the team know. You must locate what is missing. Boilerplate presentations are full of exceptions as seen in the Baxter Woodman water shed project. The council will know what I know and what we don’t know, we will do together.”

His answer to the second question, Why should voters select you, is as follows:

“Critical review and thinking can benefit us always, being doubly skeptical and asking questions brings open and fair discussion. We have among our citizens highly educated individuals who have these skills. I welcome their help and to be part of our infrastructure knowledge. Something I experienced growing up here in Belvidere was seeing a full spectrum of local citizens who worked together in harmony for our community. Commercial and local family businesses, which sustained the test of time. We need more of them. Commercial and family businesses become true community partners. I will bring the community these qualities of business and ethical behavior, and is why I am asking for your vote.” 

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