AP NEWS

New look coming to Kankakee’s 6th District

March 28, 2019

KANKAKEE — The boundaries of Kankakee’s 6th Ward remain the same, but the district certainly will look different as a new face will be part of its representation come May.

Two candidates are vying to replace retiring 32-year Republican Alderman Dennis Baron on the 14-member Kankakee City Council in the April 2 election.

Former Kankakee County prosecutor and current Kankakee County Public Defender Ed Pentuic will face off against retired Kankakee postman Michael Cobbs. What follows is a profile of both candidates.

MICHAEL COBBS

PARTY: Democrat

AGE: 60

OCCUPATION: Realtor; retired 35-year Kankakee letter carrier

EXPERIENCE: Kankakee Riverside Neighborhood Organization president; retired, U.S. Marine Corps

EDUCATION: Momence High School graduate; some college

Why are you running for Kankakee City Council?

I want to give back to the ward and the city what I have given to the neighborhood association.

What is the city’s biggest challenge?

Economic development and transparency.

What improvements would you make to city government?

Neighborhood reinvestment, safety and communication/transparency.

ED PENTUIC

PARTY: Republican

AGE: 55

OCCUPATION: Attorney

EXPERIENCE: Kankakee County public defender, 2018-present; prosecutor, 1990-2018.

EDUCATION: Law degree, DePaul University

Why are you running for Kankakee City Council?

My wife and I have lived in Kankakee County since 1995. We first lived in Bourbonnais, moved to Bradley and had two children. We moved to Kankakee 15 years ago and have lived in two homes in Riverview. We love Kankakee and specifically the 6th Ward.

With Alderman Baron stepping down, I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my experience working with local government officials to help improve the standard of living in Kankakee.

What is the city’s biggest challenge?

Lack of employment. Ultimately, the lack of job opportunities directly affects the other primary challenges facing Kankakee, being crime and lack of revenue not contingent upon real estate taxes.

Law enforcement can only do so much. A person with a job has no desire to engage in criminal activity be it drug dealing, property crimes or a crime of violence. Plus, the increase in jobs would increase city revenue independent of property taxes.

What improvements would you make to city government?

City government needs to be more accessible and accountable. The citizens of Kankakee should have ready access to budget information and the like. They shouldn’t have to rely on Daily Journal articles to highlight dubious expenditures.

Basic city services, such as Code Enforcement and street repair, should be provided proactively. Dilapidated housing should be torn down without having to wait weeks, months or years.

Intersections like East Maple and South Nelson, which is in terrible condition, should be given priority repair. Government’s first responsibility is to provide basic city services first and that is not being done as well as it could be.