Elston hangs on to 1st Ward council seat

April 3, 2019

STERLING – Alderwoman Retha Elston felt she had unfinished work to do at City Hall, and on Tuesday 1st Ward voters gave her 4 more years on the City Council.

Elston, 55, held off her young challenger, Dasan Klingenberg, 23, taking 59.56 percent of the vote.

Elston, a registered nurse at KSB Hospital in Dixon, has been on the council for 13 years, and for all but one of those years, has been on the city’s Liquor and Tobacco Commission.

Her experience and track record for addressing the concerns of residents in her ward made the difference, Elston said. She expected a tough challenge from Klingenberg, and was grateful for another term.

“It’s been fantastic representing the great people of the 1st Ward,” Elston said. “I plan to do whatever I can to keep Sterling growing and making sure the taxpayers’ dollars are well-spent.”

Klingenberg, a sales associate for U.S. Cellular, focused much of his campaign on fixing the city’s infrastructure. He also told voters that he was a younger voice for change in a community with too many residents who felt they weren’t being heard.

Klingenberg said he was happy with his first run for elective office and promised he would be back.

“This was a good start, especially against someone who has 13 years of experience,” Klingenberg said. “We’ll run again for alderman at large and continue to get our message out.”

The race was close enough to send a message that many residents are frustrated, the young challenger said.

“Right now, I just want to congratulate Retha – this is her night,” Klingenberg said.

The incumbent also emphasized infrastructure, along with riverfront development projects, and during the campaign, focused on the progress made during her time on the council. She told voters that she wanted to continue what has been started as the city starts to transition from riverfront cleanup to reuse. She also promised to build on the city’s beautification efforts.