Friday Forum

WNIJ's Friday Forum features  in-depth interviews with state officials, community leaders, and others whose decisions influence your life. You can hear it every Friday during Morning Edition on 89.5 FM and WNIJ.org.

Jerry Smith was elected Mayor of DeKalb earlier this month and takes office May 8.  He discusses his plans for the city in this week's Friday Forum.

Three candidates challenged incumbent John Rey in DeKalb’s mayoral race this spring: Smith, Misty Haji-Sheikh, and Michael Embrey. Although Smith originally hails from Dixon, he was motivated to run by his deep connections to DeKalb.

“I’ve been here now for 56 years, after having come as a student at Northern Illinois in 1961," he said, "and I felt this was a way I could give back to this community.”

Falling credit ratings for Illinois institutions of higher learning are a trickle-down effect from the Illinois budget impasse that has lasted nearly two years. The state as a whole has found itself under constant scrutiny by the credit-rating agencies.

Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious / "U.S. Mexico border" (CC V. 2.0)

Immigration in the U.S. remains a hot topic, and the controversy surrounding it only keeps evolving. That comes after a few executive orders from President Donald Trump that give local law enforcement the ability to detain undocumented immigrants.

Jenna Dooley

Three candidates are challenging an incumbent in the DeKalb mayor's race.  They all have roots in the city and personal connections with DeKalb's largest employer: Northern Illinois University. A major driver to see their name on the ballot is a quest to bring jobs and economic stability to the city.

As host of a recent candidate forum, The House Cafe in downtown DeKalb is often used as an example of an ideal "town and gown" venue.  It has live music and coffee to draw in both students and residents. But it's seen some turnover in ownership in recent years.

photos courtesy of the campaigns

Rockford voters will choose a new mayor April 4. Mayor Larry Morrissey decided last year he wouldn’t run for re-election, after 12 years in office.

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