STERLING – Three men are running for two aldermen-at-large seats on the City Council: John Stauter, 67; Javier Padilla, 24; and Christopher Schuchard, 33.
Stauter, chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, said he is running because he believes the council lacks someone like him: someone “willing to ask questions, enter into the discussion, and put forth discussion.”
“I have been asked for a number of years [to run],” he said. He’s been a member of the Planning Commission since 2007.
A successful alderman needs to listen to the residents, he said.
“If you don’t ask your own questions, ask questions someone else has brought up,” Stauter said.
He said that his experience as an accountant will help him if elected, and that he would keep an open mind and listen to all suggestions.
“You’re not always right,” he said. “Somebody else is on occasion.”
He also will try to be “proactive as far as keeping taxes at a minimum.”
He has voiced his opposition to tax increases at recent City Council meetings.
Padilla said he is running to improve the city for future generations, including his two daughters, 3-year-old twins Victoria and Isabelle.
“They’re my biggest inspiration,” he said. “The biggest thing is to secure their future, the childhood I had, and more. [To] leave them a legacy that is greater than what we’ve had.”
Padilla, owner of Vision Properties Unlimited, an area rental property company, said his business experience would help him to succeed as an alderman.
“I turned stores around, made them financially viable again – not just breaking even, but being profitable again. A lot of what my company does now [is] place people in the right places.”
Padilla said he also would bring knowledge about the way the economy works.
Schuchard, who grew up in Sterling, says his fresh perspective would be an asset.
“I respect the other guys a lot that are running,” Schuchard said. “[If you’re] looking for somebody with new blood, new ideas, I might be your guy.”
Schuchard, a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Malden Grade School in Malden, said he would like to see more entertainment and leisure opportunities in downtown Sterling for a middle-aged crowd.
“I’d like to see something more that is going to draw,” he said. “Right now, [there are] a lot of live bands, just a party atmosphere. Dixon has great restaurants there, Touch of Thai, just a little bit more variety.”
He said he likes the riverfront development ideas consultants have presented.
“A lot of people might not be able to see beyond abandoned structures,” he said. “It’s good that we have somebody showing us different ideas.”
This is his first run for office.
“I love my town,” Schuchard said. “I thought I would try to do something to give back.”
Meet the candidates
Name: Javier Padilla
Family: Wife, Sara; twins Victoria and Isabelle, 3.
Education: 2006 Rock Falls High School graduate.
Occupation: Owns Vision Properties Unlimited, a rental property company.
Name: Christopher Schuchard
Family: Parents Larry and Pat Schuchard of Sterling.
Education: 1997 Sterling High School graduate; bachelor's in marketing, University of Kentucky; master's in elementary education, Roosevelt University.
Occupation: Third- and fourth-grade teacher at Malden Grade School in Malden.
Name: John Stauter
Family: Wife, Carol; sons Jeff and Jason.
Education: Walnut High School graduate; bachelor's in accounting, Rockford College; certificate and associate's degree in data processing, Sauk Valley Community College.
Occupation: Accountant for Winebaugh & Associates.
Government experience: Member of the Sterling Planning Commission since 2007, now its chairman.