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Kaptain to run for second term as Elgin mayor

ElgMayor Dave Kaptasays he will seek second term. | Sun-Times Medifile

Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain says he will seek a second term. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: February 28, 2014 6:11AM

ELGIN — Mayor Dave Kaptain says he has decided to run for a second term, even though it is still more than a year in advance of the 2015 election.

Kaptain made the announcement Thursday night in his home neighborhood, at an Eagle Heights Residents Association meeting. Shortly thereafter, friends took to social media to post the news.

In an interview Friday, Kaptain said he thought the occasion — the group’s annual pot luck dinner and election of officers — was a good time to make his declaration.

“I felt I owed them,” Kaptain said.

He also noted that six council members had asked him last year if he would run again, and he told them he would make his decision by early 2014.

Carl Missele and his wife, Chris, will be running Kaptain’s campaign again. Kaptain said he intends to run independently, not on a slate. He said his campaign spent about $10,000 to win the race in 2011. To help pay for running this time, Kaptain said he started taking his $1,000-a-month salary for being on the council and has been setting aside that money.

In 2011, Kaptain beat three-term incumbent Ed Schock by a vote total of 3,925 to 3,297. He had 50 volunteers working for him, and 20 helped walk the streets, knocking on doors and talking to about 5,000 residents.

When he ran for mayor his first time, Kaptain declared the July before the spring election.

A lifelong Elgin resident, Kaptain has been retired for more than seven years from a 30-year career at the Fox River Water Reclamation District. Prior to becoming mayor, he served on the council for six years, founded the Elgin Community Network, oversaw the city’s Sustainability Master Plan Committee, and has been a community organizer since forming Neighborhood Watch groups in the Eagle Heights subdivision in the mid-1980s.

Reasons to run

For the 2011 race, Kaptain issued a five-point list of reasons for running. Those included:

That the “primary focus in building a community should be from the bottom up, not the top down.”

That the city needs to rebuild its foundation “by upgrading our aging streets, sewers and water distribution system.”

Improving communications between the city and its residents.

Fellow Elginites telling him they were unhappy with the direction of the city.

That “Elgin’s government must strive to be more transparent.”

Toward the first goal, he mentioned efforts to improve senior housing and bringing the Salvation Army to use the basement kitchen at the Hemmens Cultural Center to prepare food for its Golden Diners program.

As for infrastructure work, Kaptain said the city now has a budget plan in place without spikes in street repairs that were due to how they had been funded.

Kaptain said improvements in communication have included his neighborhood walks in better-weather months, a monthly online video chat in which viewers can submit questions, and the city’s increased use of the Web and social media.

As for transparency, Kaptain noted that the liquor commission now includes the entire council, that an increased social media presence allows for residents to better communicate with the city, and that the city and how it makes information available have received high marks from the Illinois Policy Institute. The city’s recently launched 311 system also will aid in better communication and transparency, Kaptain said.

“We still have work to do,” Kaptain said.

That work includes helping those at the low end of the economic spectrum and creating more jobs at all levels, Kaptain said.

Kaptain pointed to the Labor Day weekend iFest as one success of his first term. As example, he said, “For our Lao residents, this opened up their culture to our broader community.”

Kaptain said he would like to see more people of all sorts involved in the process and serving on the various city commissions and committees. Doing so “provides the opportunity to change how other parts of the community might look at you.”

And he expects the election to be about quality-of-life issues and wants and needs.

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