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On first day of candidate filing, Sycamore incumbents talk COVID-19 business challenges

SYCAMORE – Only one mayoral candidate filed official papers to run for office in April during the first day of filing at the Sycamore City Clerk’s office Monday, said City Clerk Mary Kalk, though others have picked up mayoral packets with an intent to run, she said.

The morning was filled largely with city council incumbents seeking to fun for reelection, and no mayoral candidates showed up before 9:45 a.m. Monday. Third Ward Alderman Steve Braser handed his candidacy papers in later in the day, Kalk said, making him the only candidate to file for the soon-to-be available mayoral seat so far. Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang confirmed in September he would not be seeking a second term for the mayor’s seat. Kalk will also seek reelection in the City Clerk’s office, she confirmed.

Fourth Ward Dave Stouffer, 35, is running for the two-year stint to represent Sycamore’s Fourth Ward. He works in sales and recently moved out of the first ward with his wife, Stephanie, a nurse at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital and three sons, and into the fourth ward.

“I’ve stayed in touch with the mayor and other people in town just always looking for ways to be involved,” Stouffer said, who also sat on Sycamore’s Fire and Police Commission in 2019. “My parents just raised me in a way that you know, always try and give back as much as you can, and always try to have a positive influence on other people and the city around you.”

It’s not his first time in elected office either, as he served the council in Ward 1 from 2017 to 2019, and he’s currently serving the fourth ward after the move.

Stouffer said throughout his time gathering signatures, Sycamore residents are looking at the dwindling downtown shops with concern.

Restaurants that have announced permanent closures include Cassie’s Corn Crib Cafe, The Pantry Cafe, Ren’s Chinese Restaurant and Ristorante Di Acquaviva in Sycamore, all citing financial impacts that hit hard these past seven months as lack of dining options cast a shadow over struggling revenue.

Two longtime aldermen filed for reelection as well Monday, bringing between them more than four decades of council experience.

Ward 1 Alderman Alan Bauer, who was the first to file with Kalk Monday, has been in office for 24 years and isn’t looking to stop anytime soon.

“Truly I understand how to get things done, how things work, and how to work with people,” Bauer, 66, said. “I still am enthusiastic and committed about serving the community. This is my hometown. I still have energy, and see opportunities to make things better.”

He said the city needs to ‘keep businesses alive.’

“I’m very very concerned about the health of our businesses especially the health of our restaurants and hospitality industry,” Bauer said.

Bauer’s longtime colleague Pete Paulsen, 53, has been on the council for 20 years, and filed his reelection papers Monday. He’ll be challenged by Mike Rodriguez, who also filed Monday to serve Sycamore’s second ward.

“We have challenges ahead of us,” Paulsen said. “But we’ve had a lot of good investment over the last 20 years and I want to keep that going. Retail’s going to be a challenge, but there’s opportunity. There are storefronts available.”

Paulsen and Stouffer also cited continued outcry by city residents over water quality as a priority for the council to address. At the Dec. 7 meeting, the council took another step to securing funding for a proposed city lead water service replacement project.

Ward 3 Alderman Jeff Fischer and Ward 4 Alderwoman Virginia Sherrod also filed papers for reelection as of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Kalk said. Candidates have until Monday, Dec. 21, not including the weekend, to file papers for ballot consideration.

Daily Chronicle reporter Katie Finlon contributed to this story.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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