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Local News

Gavin wins ‘squeaker’ in Joliet council race

JOLIET – Councilwoman Bettye Gavin won by 36 votes and Pat Mudron also gained a victory in the two close races for Joliet City Council.

Gavin and James Foster were neck-and-neck all night in the District Four race.

The final unofficial count was Gavin, 656 votes, and Foster, 620, with all votes counted.

“It was a squeaker all night,” Gavin said. “Right now, the victory is sweet.”

In District Two, Mudron had 47 percent of the vote.

“I’ve had a chance to speak with lot of people of all ages, and they thought I could do the job,” Mudron said.

Incumbent council members Larry Hug, John Gerl and Terry Morris all won by large margins.

District One

Even though he was the incumbent, Hug credited his victory to the “change” voters sought when he and Councilman Bob O’Dekirk, who won the mayor’s race Tuesday, were first elected in 2011.

“Hardly anyone came to council meetings in 2011, but now they’re packed,” said Hug, who had 59 percent of the vote.

Terry Cottrell, the chief information officer for the University of St. Francis, had promoted new ideas for economic development and said he wanted to develop community advisory councils.

District Two

Mudron, known in town since his days as a football standout and state wrestling champion at Joliet Catholic High School in the 1970s, credited his apparent victory to “age and time in town. I’ve been involved in many, many organizations.”

Brett Gould, who had won three previous elections to the Joliet Park District, was second with 42 percent of the vote.

Roger Powell Sr. finished third with 11 percent.

District Two was an open seat after O’Dekirk decided to run for mayor.

District Three

Gerl held onto his seat easily in District Three, which runs far west into Kendall County, with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Challenger Ray Polikaitis has tried to reach new voters, proposing monthly meetings with residents in the district. Gerl made his case for re-election on the city’s improved financial outlook since the 2011 election.

District Four

“I am reaching out to those who were in the race,” Gavin said. “I think we can all work together.”

Gavin was appointed to the seat in 2014 when former Councilwoman Susie Barber resigned after missing months of council meetings due to failing health. Foster, a union electrical contractor, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. The other two candidates in the race were Angel Guzman, who received 18 percent of the vote; and Phillip Petrakos, 16 percent.

District Five

Morris received 69 percent of the vote in his contest with Leonard Thompson Jr.

• Reporter Brian Stanley contributed to this report

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