The race for St. Charles mayor had one repeated theme: building the city's tax base and realizing a vision of a future rooted in growth.
Alderman Ray Rogina proved to be the candidate with the vision voters believed in the most.
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"I think the current businesses in town know that I'll be a shepherd," Rogina said. "I'm going to be visible. I'll be out there asking them what are we doing well for the city and what can we improve. With respect to anyone who wants to come to our city, I'm going to be a cheerleader. I want them to know we want your business here. And I want them to tell me what we can do to attract them here. I also think my experience on the city council did help. I understand we've made mistakes. We can correct those mistakes."
Rogina unofficially carried 2,031 votes with all 28 precincts reporting. That was good enough to edge out his next closest competitor, Jake Wyatt by more than 1,000 votes. Wyatt had 989 total votes. John Rabchuk had 726 votes, and Jotham Stein received 600 votes.
Rogina is the first new mayor in the city since 2005. Outgoing Mayor Don DeWitte did not seek re-election.
Rogina was the front-runner from the earliest vote returns and never looked back. He said he did not expect to win so handily.
"All the other candidates want the best for the city as well," Rogina said. "We had a very clean, thoughtful discussion on the issues, and I think the people of St. Charles appreciated that."
Rogina said his experience with the city council will allow him to have a smooth transition even with a couple new faces joining the ranks of city aldermen. He campaigned on revitalizing the Arcade Theatre as the cornerstone of morphing the downtown into a cultural, educational and entertainment destination. Rogina said he's looking forward to working with both his old and new colleagues in achieving that vision.
"I'm a pretty easy guy to get along with," Rogina said. "I'm not a control freak. I'll be able to work with everyone."