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SHABBONA – The race for Shabbona village president pitted red vs. blue, but instead of Republican vs. Democrat, it was firefighter vs. policeman.
According to unofficial vote totals, interim Village President Don Goncher, a former police chief, came out on top, garnering 56% of the vote to 44% for challenger Jon Ritter, Shabbona's assistant fire chief.
Goncher, 58, won the race with 147 votes, while Ritter received 116 votes. Also joining the village board as trustees for the next four years will be Marcus Cinnamon, Joshua Clark and Richard Lockowitz. The three ran unopposed.
Goncher has been village president since May 2018, when longtime Village President Claudia Hicks retired. Goncher retired as police chief of the West Chicago Police Department after serving 31 years, and has lived in Shabbona with his wife of 45 years Susan, since 2010.
Ritter has lived in Shabbona all his life and joined the Shabbona Fire Protection District when he was 16. He is now 28 and married to Sam Ritter.
Goncher was unavailable for comment due to being out of town for an unexpected death in his family.
Goncher ran on the campaign slogan “Experienced, ethical, unbiased.”
“I’m looking at the village in terms of preparing for the future challenges it’s going to face and setting in place goals to guide and address those challenges,” Goncher has said. “Many would say you’re trying to make a bigger Shabbona. Well, not really. I’m trying to make a better Shabbona.”