By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Three political newcomers are vying for the Republican nomination for alderman in Quincy's 3rd Ward.
The winner of Tuesday's primary between Jared Holbrook, Ken Hultz and Rich Nichols will face Democrat Mike Martin in the April 9 municipal election. Kyle Moore is vacating the aldermanic seat after one term to challenge incumbent Mayor John Spring.
The three candidates speak in generalities about basic issues-- better jobs, improved infrastructure and more community involvement -- but offer few specifics on how they would accomplish those things if elected.
Holbrook said he decided to make his first political run after seeing Moore -- who is just a year older -- win a council seat four years ago. Moore hand-picked Holbrook as his successor and tried to clear other candidates from the field to avoid a primary challenge.
Holbrook said he would like to do more to help native Quincyans choose to work here after they graduate from high school or college instead of moving away, which he believes happens too far often. He did not say what those steps could be, however.
"If the City Council has something to do with businesses coming or not coming, maybe I can have a hand in making things a little better around here or exciting for businesses to come to Quincy," he said "That way we don't see so many young people moving away and starting their lives in Chicago and St. Louis."
Improving city infrastructure would be another priority. Holbrook admits he doesn't understand how the city prioritizes such work, or how to pay for it when the city is operating under zero-growth budget restrictions, but he believes it's an issue to address.
"Some of our streets are just awful," Holbrook said. "If I'm a taxpayer and I'm paying taxes and I see that the most basic functions of my government don't seem to be going through -- like keeping our streets paved and not pothole-ridden -- that concerns me."
The 3rd Ward has seen considerable capital improvements in recent years, including work on Oak Street between 24th and 30th and a drainage project in the North College Avenue area.
"If we have problems with our city streets and our sewer systems, then we need to fix them now," he said. "We need to look those 20, 30 years down the future to makes sure the decisions we're making now are good for everybody, even when I'm dead and gone."
Hultz said he has been attending City Council meetings for the last couple years and has always tried to be active in the community. He touts his experience as a small business owner and his membership with the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Breakfast Optimist Club.
Hultz said he wants to make sure the city's finances remain healthy. Quincy has weathered the economic downturn better than many Illinois municipalities despite funding cutbacks from the state.
Hultz mentioned the unsuccessful hydropower project, which a series of city councils approved. "I always think there will be a lot of concern over (finances) after we had made the mistake to spend $5 million on the hydro project," he said.
Hultz would like to see more community involvement on major issues, possibly through an expansion of town hall meetings.
"It would be good if they had a little bit more of an open forum as far as involving the community," he said. "I know that there are things that they try to do as far as getting out on the website, but too many times the attitude is taken that if someone is really interested, then they will contact the city and get involved with it.
"We need to make sure the citizens are aware of the things are going on."
Nichols believes Quincy should attempt to become an All-American City. Quincy has achieved that designation twice, the last time in 1985. He also would like for more young adults to take interest in the community.
"It's a community where we really aren't strangers," he said. "If somebody's car breaks down, we're going to help them. They're not going to find a better home, but a lot of times (young adults) find better-paying jobs or what they think is a better-paying job elsewhere."
Nichols suggests zeroing out some unspecified budget line items and starting from scratch to see if money could be saved.
He also believes he would bring a more bipartisan approach to the council, which consists of 10 Republicans and four Democrats. "I want to change the corporate culture to a more teamwork culture," he said.
Nichols originally filed simultaneously for both mayor and alderman, but was forced to choose between the two.
Occupation: Courier for FedEx.
Political experience: None.
Family: Wife, Katherine, and daughter, Leah.
Occupation: Owner of Hultz We Care Auto Care
Political experience: None.
Family: Children Chris, Brad and Megan.
Occupation: Works in the credit department for Colony Brands, Inc.
Political Experience: None.