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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
He's 35, used to live in Chicago, and promises passenger rail to Chicago within 5 years. He is also the ex-leader of the River District Organization, Rockford's leading urbanist pro-downtown regeneration org. (think Greater State Street Council).

Here's an article from the Register-Star

'This is your election. This is your victory,' winner says

By SARAH ROBERTS, Rockford Register Star
>> Click here for more about Sarah

ROCKFORD -- Larry Morrissey took what, by all accounts, was expected to be a tight mayoral race and ran away with 55 percent of Tuesday's vote to defeat Democratic Mayor Doug Scott and Republican Gloria Cardenas Cudia.

Morrissey, an independent, more than doubled his vote percentage from 2001, when he won 26 percent to come in third behind Scott and Republican Dennis Johnson.

Four years later, an aggressive campaign that promised stronger leadership, accountability and results won Morrissey Rockford's top job.

At 9:45 p.m., with results showing Morrissey with 55 percent of the vote to Scott's 41 percent, the mayor called to concede.

Scott is the first incumbent to lose at the ballot box in 32 years, when Republican Ben Schleicher was defeated by Democrat Bob McGaw in 1973. Scott also is the first one-term mayor in 48 years, when Milt Lundstrom lost a re-election bid to Schleicher in 1957.

When word of Scott's concession reached Morrissey supporters who spilled out onto the sidewalk outside Paragon on State, the cheering reverberated across West State Street, across the downtown pedestrian mall and across the Rock River.

"Larry, Larry, Larry," they cheered, until he and his family assembled before microphones to accept their boisterous reception.

Morrissey, a former boxer at Notre Dame, couldn't help making a fighter's reference on his night.

"We went the distance last time and we came close. That was 'Rocky I,'" the 35-year-old attorney said as he stood surrounded by family and friends. "This is 'Rocky II.'

"This is your election. This is your victory." The crowd responded with deafening applause.

Promising new hope, new faith and a new day for Rockford, Morrissey thanked his family, friends, campaign volunteers and Rockford voters for sticking by him.

"Most all you, I want to thank you. All of you people who sent out a message for change today in Rockford, Illinois," he said. "Today was a powerful victory for Rockford."

Hours earlier, before the first results were even released, Morrissey's aunts danced on their chairs, anticipating the victory.

Hundreds of supporters packed shoulder-to-shoulder into the downtown restaurant, feasting on hors d'oeuvres, hitting the dance floor and slipping outside to talk on cell phones.

The jubilant crowd of about 400 people represented all age groups and races, genders and political affiliations. They sported flip-flops and drank Miller Lites. They carried Gucci bags and sipped on martinis. They wore suits and ties mixed with baseball caps.

The scene was more reserved at the Lithuanian Club, where Democratic candidates and supporters gathered to watch election returns. About 100 people sat quietly at tables, eating from a buffet spread.

Democrats began streaming in at a steady pace around 9 p.m., searching for a glimpse of Scott, who remained in a downstairs room with his campaign managers for the evening until he emerged to give his concession speech.

A visibly emotional Scott thanked his family, campaign workers and supporters as he expressed no regrets for his time in office.

"It was a great experience ... it really is the most rewarding time that I've ever been able to serve," Scott said after he left the stage. "I feel very good about how hard I worked and the job I did over the past four years, and I'll remember that. This will fade, but I'll have some great memories of the job."

The 2005 mayoral race was essentially a rematch between Morrissey and Scott, despite the presence of Cudia. Cudia, who hastily joined the race in December and struggled to secure as much cash and visibility as her opponents, pulled in 4 percent of the vote.

"I knew that this was going to be a tough, uphill battle. Like anything else, I see this as having been such a great, great experience," she said from Cliffbreakers, where Republicans gathered to watch returns. "I know that there is going to be a lot more people that are going to step forward the next time around because I have really made some people stand up and take notice of their potential, not just mine."

Nearly two hours after Morrissey acknowledged victory, the scene outside Paragon looked like a rock concert -- cars honking up and down State Street and throngs of people waiting to shake Morrissey's hand and hug their new mayor.

Morrissey and new aldermen will be sworn in at the April 25 City Council meeting.

279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He's actually from Rockford originally, went to law school at the U of I, spent several years working and living in Chicago, and moved back to Rockford.

His family has already done some loft conversions and more are on their way.

I say five years from now, Rockford will be in great shape. There seems to be not only momentum for change, but a demand for it. Regarding the east side sprawl, I don't think that's going to stop. Much of it is attracting ex Chicagolanders who commute. The key is pumping the increased taxes generated there back to the city's core. Morrissey is committed to this.

Prediction, Rockford will shock many people in the coming years. I think the most important thing is to leverage Rockford's proximity to Chicago while at the same time, increasing regional cooperation along the I90 corridor (all the way up to Madison). I think Morrissey gets this. And he also understands the need for a vibrant vcentral Rockford.
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