It is a three-person race so far for the Ward 6 city council seat.
Candidates start filing petitions this morning in the city clerk’s office for the April 4 consolidated election.
Another candidate in the race would trigger a primary runoff on Feb. 28.
More:Jennifer Notariano makes bid for open Springfield City Council seat in Ward 6
Political newcomer Alyssa Haaker, who practices insurance defense law for a private Springfield firm, is in the race.
Daniel Pittman, who lost the Nov. 8 Sangamon County treasurer’s tilt to incumbent Joe Aiello, has been passing petitions.
Earlier, Jennifer Notariano, a contract specialist for the Illinois Capital Development Board, announced her bid.
Haaker, who lives in the same block as Pittman on Pasfield Street, is a former Sangamon County assistant state’s attorney.
Haaker, 33, said she was encouraged to run for the seat by many members of the community and said safety in the ward is a primary concern for her.
“We want to encourage a positive and supportive relationship with law enforcement and the fire department,” Haaker said last week. “I intend to work with the Springfield Park District to ensure that the many parks located in Ward 6 remain safe and protected. Another priority for me is ensuring the safety of pedestrian crossings into the park.”
Recently, a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured at MacArthur and Williams at the entrance to Washington Park.
“It’s not the first accident that’s occurred there,” Haaker noted. “I enjoy Washington Park and I think that residents of Ward 6 enjoy easy accessibility to the park via Williams Boulevard. I want them to feel safe crossing right there.
“People feel like drivers are speeding down MacArthur (there). It is everyone’s minds and we do need to make that intersection safer.”
Haaker thinks the city can do better in terms of economic development, though she is excited about its tourism prospects with the eventual opening of the Scheels Sports Complex at Legacy Pointe.
Haaker, who is single, graduated from Pleasant Plains High School and has a bachelor of science degree in biology from Florida Southern College.
Haaker is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Law School.
Haaker said she intentionally chose to live in Ward 6.
“As a homeowner in Ward 6, I want to keep the area moving forward, not just for me, but for the benefit of everyone,” she said.
Pittman, 38, said he felt he gave Aiello “a good race” for treasurer earlier this month. Aiello, who was running for his second term but served 22 years as county clerk, won 65% of the vote to Pittman’s 35%.
It was Pittman’s first run for office.
Pittman said he wanted to serve in the community “in some way” and felt the experience of the treasurer’s race could benefit him.
“When you put your name on a (political) sign and put it in your front yard, your house becomes a community meeting place,” said Pittman, who has lived in Ward 6 much of his entire adult life. “My wife couldn’t walk the dog without getting stopped by one of our neighbors. If I was on the porch, that was like an invitation to come down and talk to us about issues. It was a good community thing.
“There’s nothing more welcoming than having people come down to talk to you.”
Pittman believes the MacArthur corridor is going to benefit from the sports complex.
As a grade school basketball and track coach and someone who has coached traveling sports teams, Pittman said he knows the draw of such facilities.
“I think it absolutely is (a gamechanger),” Pittman said of the complex. “I look at places like Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Rantoul, that have basically reinvented their cities around something to this size.
“Cape was in deep decline. The city took a real leap of faith. Now the place is packed every weekend. It’s a destination.
“That’s a big deal. As a town, we’re going to really, really benefit from it. I look at that (MacArthur Boulevard) corridor, and I would love to see nice restaurants pop up. Also, there’s room to look at what the hotel situation looks like out at Legacy Pointe.”
Pittman, a Marine Corps veteran, is a father of two children. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in public administration, both from the University of Illinois Springfield. He earned an associate of arts degree from Lincoln Land Community College.
Pittman is a public service administrator for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Ward 6 Ald. Kristin DiCenso announced in August that she wouldn’t run for reelection. She’s been in the seat since 2017 when she won a special election to fill out Ald. Cory Jobe’s term.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.
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