They do not have the drama of national elections, but at times, local elections are even more important than national elections because the elected representatives know better the needs of the communities they live in.
In national and local elections, more women, people of color and immigrants are running in races looking to provide more equitable representation in elected positions in their communities. Meet local candidate Alvaro Macias who is running for city council in Moline, IL.
Alvaro was born in Mexico City and moved with his family to Moline when he was only 8 years old. Not knowing the English language, he began the third grade in Ericsson School located in the Floreciente Neighborhood in Moline and went to Moline schools until moving to East Moline as a teenager and graduating from United Township High School.
Macias earned his Associate Degree at Black Hawk College and transferred to St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa where he earned his bachelor’s degree in TV/Radio. His passion for communications and media, allowed him to know his community well while writing stories and helped him become a resource for many.
Today he is Vice President of Business Development at Ascentra Credit Union, where he has worked on community development initiatives to provide access to affordable financial services to all in our region for the past decade. His work has been recognized at the national level of the industry for some of the unique partnerships he has created with local non-profits, he’s even earned the “Trailblazers 40 Below” from the industry magazine Credit Union Times, given to those leaving their mark on the industry.
“I try to be the best at what I put my hands on, and my passion for helping others can be put to good use as a council member,” said Mr. Macias. “I feel like the work I‘ve been doing, the volunteering, and my life experience, can provide a perspective that is needed to help change the culture of our city politics, which frankly needs improvement.”
Mr. Macias is running to become Alderman of Moline’s 2nd Ward. The 2nd Ward spreads to 15th Street and 8th Street in the Floreciente neighborhood, goes up east side of 7th Street and extends west close to Hamilton School and also includes big chunk of Wildwood area.
Mr. Macias shared that although he was approached years back about running, he felt that he was not ready to take on such an important responsibility before. Now, he feels, is the right time to be a candidate.
“I feel like the city is currently not going in the right direction. All you have to do is read some of the news articles that have been coming out in the last few years about our city politics. I love Moline, and I want to make sure that we have a high quality of life, and that the services provided not only meet, but exceed expectations of our residents,” He elaborated on his decision to run for Alderman of 2nd Ward.
“With every modern census count, Moline has been losing population. This is not good for the long-term interests of our residents, our schools, our services and I want to be at the table so that we make sure that all concerns are being taken into consideration, and that we are thinking big. It’s going to take new ideas, while continuing to foster a collaborative spirit with our neighboring cities, business, and developers. But we need a culture change in the city, and this can only be accomplished at the top level. “
If chosen, he will get his seat at the big table, where he plans to address many issues to improve the community he has been part of for more than three decades. He also hopes to ensure that city employees get the resources they need while in return are ensured a dignified retirement.
“It takes heart, and frankly too many key positions in our city have been treated like interchangeable pieces that don’t bring value to the city,” Mr. Macias said. “When you treat people like they don’t have value, then you create a culture that is of no value, and unfortunately I’ve seen evidence of this in our city.”
Once petition signatures are turned in to the city by Nov. 23, Mr. Macias will know who, if any, he will officially be running against. The local election will take place on April 6, 2021.
Alvaro Macias is running for Alderman of 2nd Ward for Moline City Council.
Alvaro Macias was featured on WQPT-PBS’ Vibrant Neighborhood Project a few years back.