Elgin council swears in four members, says goodbye to Gavin and Lopez
The Elgin City Council welcomed two new members and said goodbye to two others during Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony.
Newcomers Dustin Good and Steve Thoren joined incumbents Corey Dixon and Carol Rauschenberger in taking their oath of office. The four were the top vote-getters in a field of 11 candidates during the April consolidated election.
Good called taking his seat alongside the other council members after being sworn in "surreal."
"I've been involved with the city for so long and the gravity of this in a standard year, not to mention the pandemic, it was just a big moment," he said.
Thoren said it was an emotional experience for him.
"I speak all the time, I love a microphone," he said. "But I felt it, and I think it was due to the amount of pride."
"It was a very special, unique feeling."
Dixon said he was appreciative for the opportunity to continue serving.
"I'm thankful to be able to be a leader in the community, to speak specifically for those who may not have a voice, to speak for those less fortunate, to speak for the greater community on issues they care about," he said.
Rauschenberger listed a number of issues important to her, including homelessness and climate, when talking about her priorities going forward. And she spoke at length about the importance of downtown development.
"I believe it is the living heart of our city," she said. "I know we've made some great developments in bigger businesses along Randall Road and 90, but the development downtown on Douglas and Grove and Spring Streets are human scale, where we can meet each other and have a meal and talk."
The council also bid farewell to members Terry Gavin and Baldemar Lopez, who chose not to seek reelection.
Gavin, who served on the city council from 1995 to 1999 and again from 2015 to 2021, said he stepped away for health reasons.
"It's time for somebody else to have the opportunity that I was given by the citizens and voters of Elgin, to serve 12 years, in the most honorable position I have ever held in my life," he said. "And to be a part of a great organization like the city of Elgin."
Lopez, who was born and raised in Elgin, served on the council for two years.
"First and foremost, this is bittersweet," said Lopez, who practices immigration law. "Serving on the city council has been an experience of a lifetime."
"It was an awesome opportunity to be up there on that dais and to be involved in some of the most difficult times that the city has seen."