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Best of the Quad Cities 2009: Civics and Government
Written By: Administrator
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2009-04-01 13:30:02

Local elected public official

1. Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert

2. Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba

3. U.S. Representative Phil Hare

 

Best local elected public official

Mark Schwiebert

A bold prediction: Mark Schwiebert will not win this category next year.

The Rock Island mayor since 1989 (and a city council member for eight years prior to that), Schwiebert opted to not seek re-election this year, and his last day as mayor will be May 4. And he promises to take a "six-month sabbatical" from boards and commissions, he said last week.

Best local elected public official - Rock Island Mayor Mark SchwiebertBut you should take that with a grain of salt, as Schwiebert was appointed to Governor Pat Quinn's Taxpayer Action Board in March, and he attended its first meeting on Friday. Methinks that perhaps Schwiebert isn't the retiring type.

He's been immensely popular in Rock Island: In his first campaign for mayor, he garnered 72 percent of the vote in the general election, and since then he's never gotten less than 82 percent.

Asked about his accomplishments, the mayor cited things both inside and beyond Rock Island: the regional partnerships that advocate for the Quad Cities as a whole, public/private partnerships such as the city's revolving-loan fund and the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation, and the reinvention of downtown.

He struggled when asked about things that didn't get done, but he eventually expressed disappointment that Rock Island's population hasn't grown as much as he would have liked.

He acknowledged that The District of Rock Island - formed in 1992 - might need to reinvent itself again because of the difficulty in satisfying "a constant appetite for something new."

But he stressed that city's downtown has done amazingly well for an amazingly long time. "It's really had a good run," he said.

And, of course, the same could be said about Schwiebert.

- Jeff Ignatius


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