Three men running for mayor in Harrisburg - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Three men running for mayor in Harrisburg

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HARRISBURG, Ill. -- John McPeek, Robert Wilson and John Okerson are all running for mayor in Harrisburg.

McPeek is the current mayor, appointed in late 2016. He's been on the city council since 2003.

"I care about Harrisburg," McPeek said. "I love this town. I was born and raised here. I am a true bulldog."

Wilson served a term as mayor in the late 80s.

He also spent decades as the city's attorney and as a business leader.

"I think my experience in business, my experience in legal practice, my experience as a CPA will lend itself well to the citizens of Harrisburg," Wilson said.

Okerson is a retired paratrooper with the Army, having served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There's so much divisiveness and that community spirit is gone," Okerson said. "We see other towns all around us growing and people celebrating what that town does. And I think Harrisburg has so much to offer and we're not doing it."

News 3 asked all three candidates what their top three priorities are.

Okerson said marketing the town, battling crime and opioids and being more efficient with tax dollars are on his list.

"I think it's really important that we market Harrisburg, what we have to offer," Okerson said. "And we bring things in here that make people want to stay here, make people want to start a business here."

Wilson wants better cooperation with other local governments, better city finances, and he wants to bring in more people and businesses.

"It's something we have to do to put Harrisburg back on its feet is to bring some employment here," Wilson said. "But it's part of a closed loop: To bring employment here, we have to reduce the real estate taxes."

And McPeek's priorities are bringing in more taxpayers, cleaning up old vacant properties in town and demolishing the old middle school building.

"People appreciate seeing us clean these houses up and this dilapidated property," McPeek said.

The election is April 2.

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