ALTON — On Aug. 17, Alton resident and police lieutenant Dan Rauschkolb threw his hat in the ring for the race to become Alton’s next mayor.
Rauschkolb says both experience and history with the city make him a viable candidate.
“I know how the city of Alton works,” he says. “I am familiar with each department of the city, and that experience will make the transition smooth.
“Now is the time to take action. Alton is on the verge of success, but it still needs help with doing the basics well. I drive through the community and I am not satisfied with how we are managing the basics of city government.”
The 46-year-old is confident that tackling what he calls Alton’s more urgent issues will create a domino effect of improvements, including attention to jobs, crime and crumbling roads.
“There is a lot of work to be done. With the right policies, crime can be reduced right away, which will in turn make Alton more desirable,” he says. “A safe city is a successful city. A drop in crime will help attract future businesses, fixed roads will show how well we manage our city, and a healthy job base will stop the best and brightest students from going elsewhere.”
Stating that the “downtown area has received a lot of attention,” Rauschkolb said he would like to see more emphasis on the east side of Broadway as well as a buildup of activity along the riverfront, creating an “open-air environment where people can dine and shop, similar to Grafton.” He also plans to appoint a job committee in an attempt to solicit Fortune 500 companies to relocate to the area in the same way American Water set up shop several years ago.
“I recall when American Water came and created good jobs and benefits; it directly affected the community here,” he says. “We have to actively solicit these companies and show progress to the citizens that we are doing such.”
He also intends to reject the pension coverage that comes with the government title.
“I can’t speak for my opponents, but I believe sacrifice should start at city hall, so if elected I plan to opt out of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Plan,” he says. “Our elected officials should not receive better pensions than the average Altonian.”
Offering the option of an “online checkbook,” he says everyone should be able to go to the city’s website and see exactly where the money goes.
“Currently, the budget is hard to find,” he says. “You almost have to be an investigator to determine how the city spends its money. Everyone should have access (to that information).
“I will fight for working families. My mother taught me to do what’s right and fight for justice. I am not afraid to call people out and question their actions, and I offer real world experience. (Without change), in 10 years Alton will still be in the same boat it is in now — with a higher-than-average crime rate, poor job base and crumbling roads.”
Calling the citizens of Alton its greatest asset, Rauschkolb presents a plan focused on taking care of those who live here as well as bringing new faces to the riverfront.
“Right now, the city’s main strength is the people,” he says. “I have been here over 20 years and I see how tough the people are. They have gone through job loss, floods and high crime rates, and they continue to make the city what it is.
“I am discouraged that much of our tourism dollar drives right by Alton and goes to Grafton. We need to keep the money here. My wife and I travel a lot, and when we return to Alton, we wonder why it doesn’t find new ways to grow and produce revenue. I think looking outside of our area will give us ideas on how to make the city just a little bit better.”
Rauschkolb graduated from Belleville East High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University. In his 22 years in law enforcement, he has been awarded Officer of the Month four times and served as an undercover narcotics officer for Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois, where he assisted in more than 100 drug-related investigations, ultimately resulting in many convictions for drug offenders in the Riverbend. He is a member of the East End Improvement Association and works with Shop with a Cop and other charitable events and organizations.
Rauschkolb lives in Alton with his wife, Cheryl. They have two grown sons and enjoy boating. He is the second candidate to officially announce a run against Mayor Brant Walker in the April 2017 election, joining resident Scott Dixon in the race.
For more information, visit rauschkolbformayor.com.