Alderman At-Large Don Wynn looks to retain seat on city council

Steven Barnum , News editor

Alderman At-Large Don Wynn is seeking his third term as a member of the Macomb City Council.

The Columbia, Miss. native moved to Macomb after graduating high school and has been a resident of the town for the last 50 years. He was employed at NTN-Bower Corporation for six years before landing a job at Western Illinois University, where he worked in the physical plant department for more than three decades. He is disappointed in Western’s recent downspin but takes a calm approach to revive it.

“I think that right now Western is at the lowest point that I’ve ever seen it,” Wynn said. “Now being on the outside looking in, I think there needs to be change there. I don’t necessarily think it’s a city council or a government decision. It might just be a Western decision.”

Wynn doesn’t see Western’s decline in enrollment as a reason for its lackluster marketing. He sees billboards and campaigns from central Missouri up to the Chicago area, adding to his confusion as to why fewer students are choosing to be Leathernecks. After retiring from his position at Western, Wynn re-entered the maintenance scene at Wheeler Village in Macomb. For the last eight years, his job duties have included making sure everything is sound with the 45 homes located in the village. His job experience and time in Macomb is what gives him a perspective that he thinks offers value to the city council.

“Being here for 50 years is helpful because I’ve seen a lot of changes,” Wynn said. “I’ve heard all of the stories, know a lot of the people and I can talk to anyone. I feel like I can continue to help Macomb move forward.”

With an expected population decline after the results of the 2020 census, leaders in Macomb may have to learn to operate without all of its current resources. Wynn remains optimistic that both the University and the town of Macomb can bounce back from any downturn. There won’t be much financial wiggle room in Macomb’s future, according to Wynn.

“It’s always going to be a struggle,” he said. “There just isn’t enough money to go around, so any icing to go on the cake we’ll have to go without. The norm is going to have to be maintaining the resources that we do have.”

Wynn also talked about how the town’s problems are often out of the council’s control, especially when it comes to having to pass regulations that require money from the town. He also points out that the city will collect fewer tax dollars with the decline in population, but other rural Illinois communities will be experiencing the same blow.

“This has always been a forgotten part of the state. I don’t know what it is about this area but it just doesn’t get enough attention,” Wynn said. “We use most of our resources we can quite regularly to market this place, but even it just might not be enough. We just have to keep plugging away at it.”

From Wynn’s perspective, one of the strengths of the current city council is its ability to respect differing opinions and to compromise when necessary.

“We normally see eye to eye on most issues,” he said. “It’s a good group of workable people and nobody has a personal agenda. It’s been this way ever since I’ve been involved.”

Above all else, Wynn hopes to continue to show that he shares the community’s interests and that residents of Macomb find him approachable.

“I’m willing to talk to anybody. If someone has an issue, I tell them to get ahold of me or somebody who can help and we’ll get you some answers,” Wynn said. “Whether they’re happy with a decision or not, I encourage them to come to the meetings and voice their concerns. I’ll always listen because I like their input. I try to tell everyone that it’s still up to the people what we want in this town.”

Tammie Leigh Brown- Edwards will also be on the ballot for Alderman At-Large.