Seven running for three seats in Village of Rockton Trustee election
Seven candidates are running in hopes of filling three seats as Village of Rockton trustees. Each name will appear on the April 4, 2023 election ballot. Incumbents Dan Baumgartener, Jodi May, and Tyler Seever are running against Angela Ketelsen, Nicole Roggenbuck, Jamin Unger and Dave Winters.
Winners in this election will join Village president John Peterson and trustees Scott Danielson, Arianne Honkamp and Justin York on the Rockton Village board.
Baumgartner is running again for the following reason: “I've learned so much over the past 10 months and would be honored to serve a full term. Rockton is a special place for me and my family and I am committed to helping our village thrive,” Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner's vision for Rockton focuses on The Village of Rockton's current ownership of the former Sonoco property on Hawick Street. Deciding what to do with this property will have significant ramifications for the village for years to come. It is incumbent on the village leadership to pursue an agreement that will bring a new business to Rockton to complement its historic downtown shopping center.
Another major decision on the horizon for Rockton is planning for a new sewer treatment plant. In order to make this happen in the next 10-15 years, careful preparations and fiscal discipline will be required from Rockton's elected officials.
Baumgartner has taught at Stephen Mack Middle School (in District 140) for 21 years.
During his time, Baumgartner has served in various roles for the Rockton Teachers' Association, including Public Relations Chair, Vice President, and President. He has also been a member of the RTA Negotiation team that has worked with the Rockton School Board successfully to come to terms of three different contracts.
Baumgartner served as a part-time Youth Director for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (2006-2010), and at Roscoe United Methodist Church from 2017-2021. Baumgartner had the opportunity of helping out at the Rockford Rescue Mission where twice he had the honor of preaching there on a Sunday night.
Baumgartner has also served as an adult leader on several youth mission trips to various locations in the United States.
“My experiences as a husband, father, teacher, youth director and community member have helped me realize how much people want to be heard,” Baumgartner said.
“Listening to understand is a critical skill that I have embraced and believe is necessary as a Trustee. This skill has helped me tremendously since June, when understanding the issues facing the village and its residents while being able to work with the Mayor and Village Board is paramount to making wise decisions for the future of Rockton.
Baumgartner and his wife Kelly have been married for 22 years. They have two children. The family pet is a mini golden doodle named Sadie.
Dan Baumgartner has been a Rockton resident since 2005. If elected, he will serve his first full term.
Angela Ketelsen grew up in Roscoe/Rockton her whole life.
Ketelsen decided to run because she wanted to be more involved with her community. “As a single mother of two, my time has been limited, " Ketelsen said. “My children are older now and my dream is to help others any way that I can.”
Ketelsen joined the Rockton Village Planning Committee in 2021.
Ketelsen is currently the head of the Culture committee at Keller Williams Realty Signature Realty and a member of the All Leaders Counsel.
Ketelsen's vision includes helping to grow community involvement and to help create more revenue for businesses in and around the area. “I really want to help make a difference and help understand others and address those needs as best I can,” Ketelsen said.
Additionally Keller Williams as an entire worldwide company shuts down for one day in May to donate time to their local community.
Angela Ketelsen has lived in Rockton for almost 20 years, and Roscoe prior to that. If elected, Angela Ketelsen will serve in her first four year term.
Prior to being elected to her position, May served on the Village of Rockton ZBA and on the Rockton River Market committee. As a trustee, May has chaired Buildings and Grounds and Water, sewer and Garbage.
“Eight years ago, I decided to run as a trustee in Rockton because I wanted to be a part of our town's decision making process, May said. “I love our village and want to contribute in any way I can: from decisions regarding daily operations and budgeting to planning and development for future growth. I think Rockton has a great deal to offer its residents as well as a great deal of potential moving forward, May said. “
May's vision for Rockton includes downtown development. “ I would like Rockton to serve not only its residents, but offer a destination for tourists and guests from out of town as well. I think our downtown is quaint and beautiful, our local businesses have a good working relationship both with each other and with the village, and our kitschy festivals are a great draw, such as Yeti Fest and Pelican Fest,” May said.
“We have a lot to offer and together we can do much more.”
When her children, who are now adults, attended school in Rockton, May was a member of the PTO and Roscoe Rockton Lions Football, where she helped organize and work many of their events and games. She is currently a member of the Rockton Lions Club, pitching in when she can at Old Settlers Days and the Wimpy's Drive at Christmastime.
May has lived in Rockton nearly 15 years.
She has two grown children and a dog. May works full-time for the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and is also the owner of Sugar Britches, Rockton's local confectionery and candy store.
“I opened Sugar Britches eight years ago simply because I wanted to add to our lovely downtown. I admire the Dairyhaus and its commitment to excellence and to our community - existing as a downtown destination for families. I wanted to offer the same; I want to give our residents a fun reason to visit our downtown as well as sponsor local events,” May said.
“I believe Rockton has so much to offer. It is what every small town wants: to be safe, family-oriented, comfortable, well-maintained and attractive. I think it also has room to grow. I would be honored to be a part of that growth, that decision-making, and I hope our residents have faith in me to help do it.”
If reelected, Jodi May will be serving her third term.
Nicole Roggenbuck is running for trustee as she wants to expand her love of the Village of Rockton.
Roggenbuck's work experience features 20 years in management positions.
“I am an advocate for positive change, a mother and a lifelong volunteer who is dedicated to giving back and making Rockton stronger,” Roggenbuck said.
“My vision for Rockton is continued economic growth while maintaining the small town feel. I strongly believe that we need to keep Rockton a safe, family friendly village,” Roggenbuck said.
Roggenbuck volunteers as a Junior Indians Cheer coach. Additionally, she has helped local police departments with Shop with a Badge and National Night Out events.
Roggenbuck and her family purchased their home in 2017. She has been married for over 16 years. The Roggenbucks have three children, two dogs, and one kitty.
Roggenbuck adds, “I am here to make a difference!” If elected this April, it will be Nicole Roggenbuck's first term.
Tyler Seever was born and raised in the Rockford region. As a Rockton Village trustee he has been the Chair of the Public Works Committee and has worked on the Zoning Board of Appeals Administration Committee.
Seever says, “As a homeowner and a parent, I’d like to keep this village a great place to raise a family. I feel my experience serving almost two years on the board and learning from the Mayor and other village board members has helped make me an effective trustee.”
“I’d love to see more small businesses come to downtown Rockton and take advantage of our location close to the Rock River.”
Seever is an IT administrator at Welders Supply Company in Beloit. He serves as a volunteer basketball and soccer coach.
Seever has been a resident since 2016.Seever has a wife, two kids and two dogs.
"I was nominated to serve the board in May 2021," he says. If he is reelected, he will be in his second term.
Jamin Unger decided to run after encouragement from fellow dignitaries and friends who felt that he would be a great asset to the Village of Rockton.
My family has a history of holding local offices. “I am originally from Sycamore IL, and my great grandfather was the Mayor of Sycamore for years. I felt like it was in my blood to at least try,” Unger said.
“ I feel that I have qualities and expertise that would benefit this community that are not a part of the current board's knowledge.”
Unger has served as a member of the YMCA Northeast branch advisory council for a few years.
Unger brings unique experience into his candidacy and with his vision for the village.
“I have a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and worked for a local architecture firm for about 12 years before moving into construction. I have been a project manager/estimator for a large local construction company for the past 10 years.”
“I feel that I bring something to the Village of Rockton that is currently missing,” Unger said.
Unger has extensive knowledge in both residential and commercial construction and design, as well as infrastructure work, streetscapes, sanitary projects, storm and water projects, sidewalk and road reconstruction projects.
“I feel that I can be an advocate and a voice for the people of Rockton by using my knowledge to better communicate upcoming and current projects going in the Village,” Unger said.
“I believe that construction and Public Works projects are one of the most important items on a village boards monthly agenda, due to the fact that these types of projects require a large portion of the budget.”
“I have the ability to read and understand drawings and design quickly and would be a voice for the community to help determine if a project is required or necessary, or if it isn't, or if the scope is in the best interest for the budget and the people.”
“Knowing that there are many grants available, state and Federal funds, for a number of different projects, it is my vision to do my best to better the community with future infrastructure projects and to help facilitate those projects,” Unger adds.
Unger has been a volunteer assistant softball coach for his daughter and a baseball coach for his son. He has also spent time as a Salvation Army bell ringer, and in his teenage years he volunteered at pancake breakfasts at his church.
Unger has lived in the area since 2001, and has been a Rockton resident since 2013.
Unger is the proud father of three children.
“I enjoy spending time with my kids, working on my car and riding my motorcycle,” Unger shares. He adds, “I have always enjoyed working outside in the yard and in the house.”
“I want to thank everyone for the opportunity and chance to gain your trust in seeking this position. I feel very privileged to live in the Village of Rockton and am excited for the chance to make this great village even better!”
Dave Winters wants to continue being involved and contribute to the Village he loves.
Winters had served four previous terms as a Rockton Village trustee, a total of 16 years. In the last election he ran for Village President but lost the bid for election.
“I believe I bring a commonsense approach to running the village,” Winters said. The village needs to live within its means. The village also needs to update the comprehensive plan and develop a village-wide five year capital plan so that the board can make educated decisions versus reacting to day to day problems.
Winters's vision for Rockton includes continued development of the downtown area.
“We had a streetscape plan done a few years ago that has yet to be funded that I would like to see worked into future plans,” Winters said.
Winters would also like to see the Sonoco site downtown sold and developed into a small boutique hotel and a restaurant to take advantage of the riverfront. “I would like to see further development of the Rockton Athletic Fields so that we can attract more sporting events.”
“I want to see the village continue to be a great place to raise a family, with options for work, dining and various forms of entertainment,” Winters adds.
“I pride myself on doing research on the topics the board will be taking action on prior to the meetings, so I can make an informed decision on the topic. I always listen to any public input and put the interest of the Village as a whole first.”
“I want to hold the line on property tax increases. The board needs to work with our local state representatives to maintain funding levels from the State and work toward obtaining grant funding wherever possible for any new projects. The board also needs to put together a realistic plan to replace our aging sewer plant.
Winters started on the Village Planning commission and has previously served as a Rockton Village trustee.
Currently he is serving as a Rockton Police commissioner. He also serves as the president of the First Baptist Church of Beloit Foundation. Winters has given back through volunteer work at various community events such as the Great American Cleanup, and he volunteers at events at his church.
Winters and another past trustee built the deck at the Village Hall.
Dave Winters has been a Rockton resident for 22 years.
Winters is married and the father of two grown children, and three dogs.
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