Two O’Fallon city officials have announced their candidacies for mayor in the April election. Longtime Mayor Gary Graham will not be seeking re-election after serving two decades.
Earlier this year, Ward 4 Alderman Herb Roach announced he would run for mayor, and last week, O’Fallon City Clerk Phil Goodwin announced his candidacy for the city’s highest office.
Goodwin, 83, has been the city’s clerk for nearly 16 years. He said he hopes to continue to move the city forward.
“I want to keep the torch moving,” Goodwin said. “We have too much to be proud of. We are one of the few cities around to my knowledge that is gaining in population.”
He praised the leadership of Graham.
“I think it speaks for itself,” Goodwin said. “We’ve got a new hospital going in; we have a MetroPlex on the other side of town going in. You can see how downtown O’Fallon has improved. ... All of this has happened through Graham’s leadership.”
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, under construction off of Green Mount Road, is expected to be completed in 2017. The O’Fallon McKendree Metro Rec Plex is also under construction at the corner of Scott-Troy Road and U.S. Highway 50 in O’Fallon.
Roach, 70, believes in reaching out to O’Fallon residents. He said he’s visited at least 4,500 homes so far.
“Ever since I have been an alderman, I have tried to get as much input as I can from people I represent,” said Roach, who was first elected in 2011. “You need to listen to the people and listen to what their concerns are.”
In addition, Roach hosts a town hall meeting for Ward 4 residents every six months.
Goodwin said he also plans to reach out to residents as part of his campaign.
Roach, who was born and raised in O’Fallon, said he loves the city. “I want to see it grow properly,” he said. “I want to keep it as the type of community people come and raise their family in.”
Roach said he thinks “there is some need for looking at things a little differently.”
Goodwin and Roach have different views when it comes to the Destination O’Fallon plan, an economic initiative aimed at constructing a state-of-the-art multisports complex at the O’Fallon Family Sports Park and a new multipurpose community plaza in downtown O’Fallon. The $9.5 million cost of the project will be funded by a 4 percent increase in the city’s hotel/motel tax, which was approved by the City Council last week.
Goodwin is in favor of the project; Roach voted against it.
“The parks bring people. If you bring people, they are going to build houses,” Goodwin said. “If you build houses, you get businesses; you create more in the way of taxes, then you have money to do things like roads and other things.”
Roach said he’s in favor of improving the city and moving forward, but “you have to do it in a very organized manner and a fiscally responsible manner. You want to do it in a manner that is going to be economically feasible for your community.”
If elected mayor, Goodwin said he hopes to encourage more businesses to locate to O’Fallon, especially along Central Park Plaza Drive. Goodwin said he would love to see a Costco or a Trader’s Joe come to the city.
Goodwin touted his managerial experience, which includes serving as a full colonel in the Air Force. “I have a lot of leadership ability,” he said.
He flew 100 missions over North Vietnam. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters.
“One of my top priorities is Scott Air Force Base, keeping Scott around is very important,” he said.
Goodwin said he’s well known throughout the community due to his volunteer work with the Rotary Club, O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce and Gateway Region YMCA.
He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the former Baptist College of Charleston, which is now known as Charleston Southern University. He grew up south of Boston in Quincy, Massachusetts.
He’s been in O’Fallon since 1977. After retiring from the Air Force, he worked for Flight Safety and then the Husmann Corporation. He currently is in the insurance business. He owns and operates Phil Goodwin and Associates, which has an office in downtown O’Fallon.
“I’m phasing it out now,” Goodwin said, “but I still have clients that I’ll take care of.”
Goodwin said his health is “excellent.” He said he works out at the YMCA four or five times a week.
Goodwin and his wife, Johnnie Lynn, have five children, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. He attends First United Methodist Church in O’Fallon.
Roach worked for 37 years in manufacturing and distribution and seven years at Heartland Bank. He has a degree from Southern Illinois University.
He said he coached sports in O’Fallon for 24 years, including basketball, baseball and soccer. He also served on the O’Fallon District 90 school board, the Illinois State Board of Education and the board of directors for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
He’s currently involved with the Knights of Columbus, O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Habitat for Humanity and is on the board of directors for Lindenwood University-Belleville.
Roach and his wife, Nancy, have three children and seven grandchildren.
There is still time to file for mayor. Interested individuals have until Dec. 19 to file the necessary paperwork. Candidate petitions may be picked up at O’Fallon City Hall during normal business hours.