KANKAKEE — A veteran Kankakee 4th Ward Republican alderwoman is facing a challenge from a Kankakee attorney in the battle to help represent southwest city residents.

Danita Grant Swanson, a council member since May 2003, is being challenged by Karren Farmer. What follows is a profile of both candidates.

DANITA GRANT SWANSON

PARTY: Republican

AGE: 55

OCCUPATION: CEO, 2 Rivers Area Credit Union, Kankakee

EXPERIENCE: Kankakee 4th Ward alderwoman, May 2003; Kankakee Township Trustee, six years

EDUCATION: Bishop McNamara Catholic High School, 1982; some college

Why are you running for Kankakee City Council?

I’m running because I’m a lifetime citizen of Kankakee and have lived in the 4th Ward with my family and friends for 53 of my 55 years. I love to help people and I love my city and neighborhood.

What is the city’s biggest challenge?

I believe the biggest challenge we are facing has been with the changes in administration. We have all new department heads, a new fire chief and we are almost settled on a new police chief. Things have started to settle in and we are headed in the right direction.

What improvements would you make to city government?

The above answers the last question.

KARREN FARMER

PARTY: Democrat

AGE: 58

OCCUPATION: Attorney and counselor at law

EXPERIENCE: 20 years attorney, downtown Kankakee; corporate counsel, Sun River Terrace and Kankakee Township; AFSCME union steward and Local 2000 executive board secretary

EDUCATION: Juris Doctor and master’s degree, business administration, Southern Illinois University, 1998; Rovert Morris College, 1979, AAS; Governors State University, 1995; Kankakee Westview High School, 1978.

Why are you running for Kankakee City Council?

I want to continue to give back to my community. I love the city of Kankakee and all of my neighbors. I believe in this city. I see a need for the residents of the 4th Ward to have an advocate who will keep them informed and who is ready, willing and able to represent them. I am excited to see Kankakee “Moving Forward” and want to be a part of finding the solutions to make Kankakee even better.

What is the city’s biggest challenge?

Infrastructure improvements, crime, housing, taxes and jobs. Working together (even though we don’t agree on everything) for the benefit of all of the residents of the city of Kankakee. I have a vision of how this city can be better for all of us. We need to find ways to connect the residents of the city with the available jobs, as well as bring more jobs to the area for our children to want to live here and benefit their city after earning their degrees.

The city has experienced “the brain drain” for many years, and I’d like to help turn it around by having a city the children want to contribute to and help make better as well.

What improvements would you make to city government?

Accountability and transparency. Requirement to keep residents informed.

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