Sherman Jenkins: Candidate profile
Name: Sherman L. Jenkins
Office sought: Alderman-at-Large
Family: Married with three grown children and three grandchildren
Occupation: Retired and currently serving as Alderman-at-Large and President of SLJ Communications,
Inc., a digital media company.
Education: Journalism major, Northern Illinois University, May 1979
Civic involvement: I am a member of the Aurora Rotary Noon Club, Past Chairman and Board Emeritus of
the Aurora Public Library Foundation, past board member of the Rush Copley Foundation Board, board
member of the Northern Lights Development Corporation, Chairman of the Board of Directors and
founding member of the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce, and member of the
InterFaith Aurora organization. Moreover, I am an author penning my first book in 2016 titled: "Ted
Strong, Jr.: The Untold Story of an Original Harlem Globetrotter and Negro League All-Star."
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? I was appointed in May 2017 to serve out the remaining
term of current Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.
Facebook: Sherman Jenkins For Alderman-at-Large
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address
•Advocate for an aggressive Economic Development Program that brings good-paying jobs to
•Work with city staff to continue to stream-line the business development process so more
companies, large and small, can open sooner thus producing more jobs and revenue for the City.
•Implement a "Corporate/Technology Campus Aurora" program to attract and retain more
corporate and technology business operations for Illinois' second largest city.
Housing and Community Development
•Continue to support programs that assist existing and new homeowners.
•Support more program that address "at-risk" youth.
•Advance program that address the transportation, health and safety needs of seniors.
•Encourage more investment in the mature neighborhood areas of the City remembering that we
want a quality of life that we ALL can believe in.
•Support efforts to increase sustainable energy initiatives that continue to improve our quality of
life now and for generations to come.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have more than 20 years of serving as Assistant and Executive Director of Aurora's Economic
Development Commission where we worked with Mayors and the City Council to attract and retain
commercial and industrial development. Under my leadership, we fostered the development of the
city's first downtown Master Plan, established the formation of the Seize the Future Development
Foundation (now Invest Aurora), lead a negotiating team to land the Chicago Premium Outlets,
spurred the construction of the Eola Road Interchange, and spearheaded the attraction of many
corporations such as FHP, Follett, and International Paper. I have been a public servant for more
than 30 years working with businesses, community organizations and individuals to address issues
affecting the Aurora community.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions
and decisions with your village board or city council.
My style of leadership involves collaborating with individuals and groups. I work to first listen to
understand what the problems are and then we devise and take steps to address problems that
have long-term results. I believe in making things happen. My experience in working with city staff,
community groups and individuals demonstrated that, and as a result my colleagues on the City
Council can be confident that we can make our citizens feel that we have their best interest at heart.
One example of helping to make things happen occurred early in my tenure as Alderman-at-Large.
The Council debated an ordinance revision for a company looking to relocate to one of Aurora's
interchanges. Some members of the Council felt that we were doing too much for one company. I
presented information to remind my colleagues that as head of the economic development arm of
the City, we advocated and finally secured land for the interchange that prompts companies such as
the one looking to relocate to Aurora to choose Aurora as its new home. The Council voted in favor
of the ordinance revision and the company will soon break ground for its new Corporate
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most
important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people
The City of Aurora has passed balanced budgets consistently for years. Aurora made tough choices
and decision during the downturn of the economy in 2007. What is needed today is more economic development that helps existing businesses expand and attract new companies that create more
jobs and revenue which reduces the urge to raise property taxes.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I believe a program that I call "Corporate/Technology Campus Aurora" would allow us to market,
attract and retain corporate and technology companies to the five interchanges on Interstate 88 in
Aurora. The City of Aurora has already attracted data centers because of the more than 80 miles of
fiber-optic cable underground. Aurora is poised to be the headquarters for more companies looking
to have an ample workforce, superb transportation system, excellent schools and various levels of
housing for all workers.