DeKALB – Voters determined that change in DeKalb leadership was needed by electing Jerry Smith as Mayor and Patrick Fagan as 4th Ward alderman Tuesday.
Unofficial results show Smith receiving 47.97 percent of the vote with Misty Haji-Sheikh receiving 19.21 percent, incumbent Mayor John Rey receiving 19.13 percent and Michael Embrey receiving 13.69 percent.
Smith has said during his campaign that in his first 100 days of service, he plans to be laser-focused on economic development, engage with law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety and investigate how DeKalb can retain younger residents coming out of high school and college, amongst other goals.
“I could not be more proud of the way we took the high road and were able to take our positive message to the residents of DeKalb,” Smith said. “There’s much to be done in the coming weeks, months and years. DeKalb is a wonderful place with wonderful folks, and we must work together to make it an even better community.”
Rey said that although he was surprised at the results, he supports Smith in his success.
“I look forward to working with Jerry on what I would anticipate would be a very smooth transition orienting him to a number of projects and making sure the momentum of those projects continue as he assumes the office,” Smith said.
Haji-Sheikh said she called Smith to congratulate him and will now continue her commitment to the DeKalb County Board.
“I want to thank every person who voted for me, worked for me or supported me in any way, and I want them to know that I’m going to keep working hard,” Haji-Sheikh said. “I tried to run a tight, effective, issue-driven campaign.”
Embrey said the election showed that people wanted change, and city government will have a new future now.
“I hope DeKalb is ready for a new direction, and it’s time for everyone to step up,” Embrey said. “I did want the mayor job, but I’m committed to the community in bringing events to town and creating additional activities.”
In the City Council races, Patrick Fagan won the open 4th Ward Alderman seat with 38.55 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, beating sitting Alderman Bob Snow and challenger Michael Bauling.
“I plan to be in more contact with people in the 4th Ward,” Fagan said. “We need to keep property taxes in line without increases and also make sure that all of the information is researched before we make a decision on anything.”
Second Ward Alderman Bill Finucane retained his seat over his opponent, William Lamb.
“We need to continue to reach out to do some commercial economic development, but we can’t forget residential development,” Finucane said. “For the ward, I’d like to see some of the public transit issues resolved on the southwest side by University Village.”
Mike Verbic, who was running unopposed in the 6th Ward after Michael “Max” Maxwell withdrew, will replace retiring Alderman Dave Baker.