©2011 Galesburg Broadcasting Co.
|Changes at the Top Among Top Local Stories of 2009
|Voters in three local communities made their voices heard at the ballot box, resulting in changes in leadership.
New mayors were elected in Galesburg, Knoxville and Abingdon last April - one of our top local stories of 2009.
Sal Garza received 34 percent of the vote to defeat eight other Galesburg mayoral candidates and take over for Gary Smith, who didn't seek re-election. Terry Pool, a former alderman in Knoxville, defeated the incumbent Phil Myers and Abingdon voters also picked a new mayor instead of the incumbent when Roger Stegall won election over Steve Darmer.
Garza, who is Galesburg's first Hispanic mayor, told WGIL in April that didn't matter to him.
"That was never part of our platform," Garza said. "I just look at being Hispanic as a plus. First and foremost, what we value here is leadership in the community. And that really was the path that we took, is how we can best represent everyone in this community, and not just a particular sector."
Garza cited jobs and economic development as two of the city's challenges and that he had some ideas to address them.
Pool won handily in his mayoral bid. He got 69 percent of the vote. Stegall, an Abingdon native who left the city but returned in 2002 after working for 30 years as a plant manager in Alabama, gathered 44 percent of the vote in the election. He cited economic development as a major challenge in Abingdon.
(Sal Garza takes the Oath of Office in May, 2009, at Mayor of Galesburg, joined by his family. Story by Mike Perry. WGIL News File Photo by Will Stevenson.)
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