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ELECTION PREVIEW: Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller faces Stephenson Co. Board member Ronnie Bush

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FREEPORT (WREX) — Voters in the Pretzel City will head to the polls on Tuesday for its mayoral election. The race is between incumbent Mayor Jodi Miller and Stephenson County Board member Ronnie Bush.

Bush says he's dreamed of being Freeport's mayor, but Miller isn't ready to hand over the keys.

"There's still lots of work to do," Miller says.

Miller, who is running on the Citizens Party ticket, touts her 20-year strategic plan for infrastructure and pension liabilities as wins.

"We have not increased the portion of the city's tax bill," Miller explains.

But Bush, a democrat who spent 22 years on Freeport's City Council, says he takes issue with the city's newly created Social Justice Committee.

"Just look at the committee itself, it wasn't representative of cross-sectional people in Freeport," Bush explains.

But Miller says the committee has already increased minority employment in the city.

Another issue for Bush is the city's plan to address flooding concerns. The city's in the process of getting grant money from the federal government to buy homes east of the Pecatonica River to create green space.

"What they're doing is becoming $30,000 dollar homeless people because, where are they going to go?" Bush asks. "I think they should've given them a lot more options."

Bush would like to see those residents relocated within the city, but Miller says the grant money creates more options for people and gives them a choice.

"It's totally up to them, so however we can best assist them," Miller explains.

Miller says it's been a privilege to represent the city and she'd like to follow through with her plans if given the chance to be reelected.

"I enjoy doing that kind of thing," Miller says, explaining that holding office is her chance to help the community.

But Bush says his long-time experience in city politics, and with the county, makes him the better choice.

"I'm going to be out and about," Bush says, which he calls a difference to Miller.

But who becomes the next mayor of Freeport is a decision you'll make at the polls on Tuesday, just five days from now.

Voter turnout in Stephenson County for the primaries was under five percent, so both candidates strongly urge you to get out and vote.

Richard Bodee

Richard Bodee is a reporter at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team in June 2019 after graduating from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism.

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