Centralia Councilmen Candidates Forum

Politics
March 22, 2021

In their opening statements, questions and closing statements, even though there were many items of agreement, all five Centralia Council candidates managed to set themselves apart from the others.

Jeff Castellari, a local business owner with Castellari’s Cycleology, and after 20 years in the railroad industry, talked about the need for a balanced city budget with accountability. With his railroad background, he always felt some economic development should focus on our railroads and farming community. He feels the City should also focus on more larger events in the spring and summer for tourism.

Israel Fontanez, a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and leader of the Southern Illinois Branch N.A.L.C. union, moved to Centralia 15 years ago and with pride said he “found a home here.” He is very involved in youth sports. If elected, he offered to have monthly or biweekly meetings, questions and answers with the citizens. He says working together we can overcome the increase in crime and unemployment.

Jason Hunter stated that he would give the police and fire department his full backing. He mentioned as a lifelong resident he would like to see more youth programs and community events. He would like to see a local city manager if possible.

Kent Jones, with a career in education and 25 years as a high school principal, focused on the leadership skills he could bring to the council. He mentioned the importance of advance planning for the budget and all infrastructure projects for the city. He felt transparency with the citizens is needed and should be implemented. He stated we need to support our current local businesses more.

Rob Jackson, who worked in restaurant management for years and currently works for the Illinois Secretary of State’s local office, said his management background can help the community. For over 20 years he has been a volunteer and committee member and is currently the chairman of the City Tourism Commission. Regarding retaining our youth, Jackson said a stronger connection with Kaskaskia College is important.

Visit www.facebook.com/shoppers.weekly to watch the candidate forum.

(L to R): Centralia City Council candidates Rob Jackson, Israel Fontanez, Jeff Castellari, Kent Jones and Jason Hunter.

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