Western student in Macomb primary

Erika Ward

Joshua Jefferson, a graduate student at Western Illinois University, will face Mike Wayland in the April 7 primary election to complete Ryan Hansen’s term as First Ward alderman.

 Hansen, the previous alderman, stepped down in October to avoid a conflict of interest when he submitted a contract to become a manager for Spring Lake Park in Macomb.

 “Initially, when I started to run, the seat was open,” Jefferson said.  “By the time I had filed my papers, the mayor had already appointed someone to the office.”

 Wayland was sworn into office in December and is serving as First Ward alderman until the election in April.

The term for an alderman is four years.  There are still two years left in Hansen’s term.  The election in April will decide if Jefferson or Wayland will finish out the current First  Ward alderman term.

“Right now, I guess I haven’t really started campaigning in earnest,” Jefferson said.  “I have some friends that are graphic designers that are helping me put together a design for flyers and signs.”

Jefferson enjoys speaking to residents from the First Ward and plans on using personal communication in his campaign.

“When I was going out and picking up the signatures, something about that moment just clicked for me,” Jefferson said. “Walking through the ward and knocking on doors and actually seeing people face-to-face, talking to them or listening to what they have to say.

 “Just getting that opportunity to actually have a short, meaningful conversation with them.  That will definitely be another element of my campaigning.”

Jefferson, a Milwaukee native, moved to Macomb to pursue his undergraduate degree and is currently finishing his graduate degree in political science.  His family moved to Macomb as well, and all of them reside in the First Ward.

“I’ve been here since 2006,” Jefferson said.  “I’ve observed the town.  I’ve lived in the town.  I’ve learned to love the town.  I see so much potential for the things that we have. I see the things we could have, and I see the things we could be better at.”

Jefferson looking forward to the upcoming election and the excitement it brings.

“I’m excited about the opportunity that (the election) presents,” Jefferson said.  “I’m excited about even having the chance to run.  I’m excited about being able to be a part of the process of making ‘home’ an even better place.  I’m excited about campaigning in and of itself.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Jefferson has been mindful of the residents of the First Ward when it comes to the office of alderman.

“The office of alderman covers a lot of ground,” Jefferson said.  “Primarily, I would be acting as an advocate for all the residents of the First Ward.”

“The Fist Ward is a very diverse ward,” Jefferson said. “That’s something that I feel requires some sort of assisted communication.  Something that I would like to see is some sort of Ward Forum.

“There’s always going to be some sort of issue that is present, and somebody is always going to not like something.  I think that being intentional about what we do and reaching out to people will help.  I want to be an advocate for people.”

The First Ward covers the residence halls on campus, residential housing and more.  The primary election is to be held on April 7. 

Residents of the First Ward can go to Wesley United Methodist Church at 1212 W. Calhoun St. in Macomb to vote in the primary election.