After 18 years of service to the city of O’Fallon, Ward 1 Alderman Gene McCoskey will not be seeking re-election.
“I’m happy with my service. I’ve enjoyed everything,” he said. “There’s other things I want to do. I’m happy with what the city has achieved.”
McCoskey, an executive at Nestle Purina Pet Care Company in downtown St. Louis, has served as alderman for seven and a half years. For a decade prior to that, he volunteered on the city’s park board and planning commission.
McCoskey was first appointed chairman of the O’Fallon Urban Forestry Commission by Mayor Gary Graham, who recently announced he would not be seeking re-election after serving 20 years. McCoskey said he told Graham that he would work with him while he’s mayor. However, he admitted he didn’t think Graham would serve two decades.
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“I never really liked running for office. I liked serving,” he said.
McCoskey thinks the city is headed in the right direction. “I think that our city is really on the brink of great things,” he said. “It’s a good time to step away and spend time with my family.”
McCoskey, 61, is married and has two adult sons. McCoskey said they may downsize and find a smaller home in O’Fallon. “I love it,” he said of the city.
“I think I always tried to represent the residents of my ward, and I was proud of that,” he said.
McCoskey is also proud he stuck to his personal values as an alderman, including voting against allowing video gambling in the city and against allowing alcohol at the O’Fallon Family Sports Park.
“I’m also proud we developed the best community park system in southwestern Illinois,” he said. “I’m proud of our strategic planning, economic development, planned growth and our fiscal integrity and good stewardship.”
McCoskey enjoyed his service on the park board and the planning commission as well. He said the city was able to triple the size of the parks in O’Fallon and encourage green space in residential developments.
“I never really thought I would run for office. It’s never something I aspired to do,” he said. “It’s not something I really ever thought I would do. I always thought I would help the community I lived in, and I did that.”
McCoskey encourages others with a passion for the city to run for office. “I’m an advocate for getting in the game,” he said, as long as the individual is doing it for the “right reasons.”
Twenty-five individuals have picked up election packets from O’Fallon City Hall, according to information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Individuals interested in running for public office have until Dec. 19 to turn in the necessary paperwork.
At least two individuals have announced intentions to run for mayor: City Clerk Phil Goodwin and Ward 4 Alderman Herb Roach.