Change was in the air Tuesday night after the Consolidated Election returns were tallied.
The Sauk Valley’s third largest city has a new mayor-elect. Rock Falls voters gave City Clerk Bill Wescott a surprising 75 percent of the vote as he defeated two-term incumbent Mayor David Blanton.
In Morrison, R. Everett Pannier, a retired GE plant manager, captured 69 percent of the vote to defeat three other candidates. He will replace retiring Mayor Roger Drey, who did not seek re-election.
Incumbent Whiteside municipal leaders did well in Lyndon (Village President Tim Crady, 76 percent) and Prophetstown (Mayor Steve Swanson, 68 percent).
But the same trend did not hold for Lee County mayoral races.
Voters in Amboy, Franklin Grove and Ashton booted incumbents from office.
Amboy Mayor Frank Mekeel got only 31 percent as he fell to Alderman Tom Nauman (39 percent) in a three-person race.
Franklin Grove Village President Bob Logan, a 20-year veteran, won 37 percent in his failed re-election bid. David Atkinson, a village trustee, got 47 percent in the three-person contest.
And Ashton voters backed write-in candidate Don Ross’ bid to oust Village President John Martinez. Ross won 53 percent of the vote.
Some Ogle County voters were itching for change, too.
In Mount Morris, Village President Greg Unger tasted defeat as his re-election bid was thwarted in a close contest. Unger won 47 percent of the vote, falling to Dan Elsasser with 50 percent in a three-way contest.
In Polo, with Mayor Mark Scholl stepping down, Alderman Doug Knapp won 60 percent of the vote to defeat Alderman Randy Schoon.
Across the region, other new faces will soon serve the public after Tuesday’s vote.
Ed Fritts defeated incumbent Doug Farster for Dixon Township supervisor.
Dana Stutzke defeated incumbent Jim Lopez for Sterling Township road commissioner.
In Palmyra Township, five candidates ran for road commissioner, with Derrick Storey prevailing over incumbent Jim Bushman and three others.
An incumbent fell in the Dixon Park District Board election; longtime Board President William Ost trailed his opponents.
We congratulate the winners. They have big jobs ahead. We urge them to work hard and cheerfully exceed the requirements of public service, particularly in the areas of openness, honesty, and courtesy to the public.
We thank defeated incumbents for their years of service. We thank defeated newcomers for giving voters a choice on Election Day.
Change definitely was in the air Tuesday. It is up to the winners and their constituents to ensure the changes are positive ones.