Young Citizen of the Year: Dave Baron

David Baron walks in the downtown Kankakee area on a summer day. Baron, a Kankakee native and 2002 graduate of Bishop McNamara Catholic High School, now holds a law degree from Harvard University. He could have chosen to work anywhere, but returned home two years ago.

It’s unusual for the Daily Journal to endorse a candidate in an alderman race.

However, in the case of Dave Baron, the people of Kankakee are fortunate that this qualified young man has returned to the town he grew up in to practice law and bring with him a clear purpose, “Let’s Build Up Kankakee!”

He is running with an approach to leadership that is vital to city government, building bridges to others.

Baron would bring a disciplined voice to the Kankakee City Council.

He is no stranger to building bridges for the collective good, and he clearly acknowledges that community goals are oftentimes messy, but collaboration is the key to ensuring community-wide acceptance when it comes to sustainable growth.

Committed to his platform, “Let’s Build Up Kankakee,” giving back is part of Baron’s DNA. Since returning home, he has wholeheartedly served the initiatives of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County.

Former Vice President of Marketing Lisa Wogan said: “Dave really has community development at heart. He understands and is energized by what are often complex challenges requiring long-term, layered solutions. While he brings technical expertise in policymaking and investment incentives, Dave, as importantly, knows that for the community to accomplish its most ambitious goals, broad, deep and sustained collaboration is required. He enjoys and excels at building coalitions of neighbors to advance a shared vision.”

He has also given back to his alma mater, Notre Dame University, serving in a variety of roles for the school’s administration.

He was also educated at Harvard Law School, a credential he rarely mentions. Yet when you spend time with him you learn the credential he is most proud of is the debates he shared at the kitchen table with his mom.

Family is clearly his most treasured value, one he would bring to all families of the city’s 2nd Ward.

He is in this fight to “build up Kankakee” so we all can celebrate the community we know and love.