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Dixon candidates election forum Tuesday

DIXON – Candidates for mayor, City Council and School Board will speak at a forum from Tuesday at Dixon High School.

The forum will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Dixon High School cafeteria, 300 Lincoln Statue Drive. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Incumbent Mayor Li Arellano Jr. is being challenged by Councilman Ryan Marshall in the April 2 consolidated election.

Arellano, 37, owns Jimmy John’s in Dixon and Rock Falls and co-owns the Frosted Spoon in Rock Falls. He’s also a sergeant in the Army Reserves and served two combat tours in Iraq. Arellano, elected in 2015, is the city’s first Latino mayor.

Marshall, 34, owns The Stables bar downtown, served on the Lee County Board for a year and a half and also was involved with Dixon Main Street and the Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce. He was elected in 2017.

On the council, incumbents Mike Venier and Kevin Marx will be looking to retain their seats against challenger Mary Oros.

Venier owns Venier Jewelers downtown, Marx is the chief practice officer at KSB Hospital as well as executive director for the Lee County Industrial Development Association, and Oros is an agent at Harrison Insurance Agency and motivational speaker for the United Way of Lee County.

Venier was elected in 2015, while Marx was appointed in 2015 to fill the Jesse Arjes’ seat.

Five candidates are running for three seats on the School Board.

Incumbents Scott Johnson and Brandon Rogers are running, and board President Jill Stoker is not seeking re-election. Newcomers Rachael Gehlbach, Rachel Cocar and Melissa Gates are campaigning as a group for the seats.

Johnson is a grain merchandising manager for Consolidated Grain & Barge, and Rogers manages the Dixon Walgreens.

Cocar is co-pastor of Faith Baptist Church with her husband, Bunyan, and is a music teacher at St. Anne School in Dixon, Gates is a psychotherapist and Gehlbach is a yoga instructor at KSB Hospital.

All seats are for 4-year terms, and the forum candidate order will start with School Board, followed by council and mayor.

Steve Nunez, vice president of academics and student services at Sauk Valley Community College, will moderate the forum, which is hosted by the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street.

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