Mayor of East Moline John Thodos seeks re-election

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Not all immigrants come from Mexico, although the media often portrays this picture, the truth is that all American immigrants come from a place other than the United States. East Moline Mayor John Thodos, who’s roots are in Greece, remembers the story well of how his family came to be in the Quad Cities. Xristos Theodorakopoulos or Chris Thodos for short, is Mayor Thodos’s grandfather. Chris Thodos left Greece on a steam ship in 1911.  He had $20 in his pocket, went through Ellis Island, and established himself in East Moline, IL. The Thodos family has called it home ever since.

“My grandfather was told that a river town named Moline had a company named John Deere and they were hiring immigrants, he knew no English, but he hopped a train to East Moline.” While living in East Moline, Chris heard that a young girl from his hometown of Filiatra had moved to town. Chris would sneak into his future wife’s backyard and try to sneak a peak at her through the kitchen window and fell in love with her. According to Mayor Thodos, “Greek tradition was that the man must first earn some money and when he could afford it, he should marry.”

Soon Xristos married Dionysia Fotineas, or Denise for short, however like many immigrants know, the name was misspelled somewhere along the line and she went from Dionysia to Bernice, a name that stuck with her the rest of her life. In fact it was his Yaya (grandmother) who moved into his house when his mother died and raised him. “This is how I became fluent in Greek because she did not know how to speak English.” He also learned how to cook with her, like Mayor Thodos knows all to well, “The best place to learn how to cook is not from a cookbook but under the apron of your mother or Yaya.”

His father Steve was the first person in his family to graduate from college, Mayor Thodos knew he would do the same. John Thodos attended and graduated from United Township High school and was a member of the class of 1981, he went to Blackhawk and received an Associates degree in 1983. After Blackhawk he received a Bachelors degree in Business and Economics with a minor in Political Science from St. Ambrose University in 1985. After college, the economy was not the best so Mr. Thodos worked as an operations manager for 5 years and began taking real estate courses at Blackhawk College with Alderman Luis Puentes.

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Although Puentes and Thodos are running against each other, they have remained friends and have behaved like gentleman in this election which isn’t always the case in politics. For 15 years Mr. Thodos sold houses and learned from hands on experience about real estate management, development, and financing.  All very important when working with the city and those who wish to develop in it.

 While developing some properties in East Moline he went in front of the city council to question why property taxes were increasing by 16%? He went to the meeting, presented his argument, and the council approved the increase. The following year a proposal to raise taxes by another 12% was on the table, again Mr. Thodos presented his case to the council, they voted, and again agreed on raising taxes. The next year, a tax increase was brought up again and Mr. Thodos was fed up. He decided to run as an independent and became the first non-Democrat to win an East Moline Alderman seat in over 20 years.

 A few years later Mr. Thodos was not happy with the direction that the city was taking so he decided to run for mayor, after asking his wife of course. Mr. Thodos felt that he could do a better job as mayor and he pledged to be a full time mayor on a part time salary. Since his election he has helped bring new businesses like FedEx, Tempo Marine, Lift Systems, and Triumph foods which is still in the works. Mayor Thodos hopes to continue developing and has a vision of making East Moline the gateway to Chicago. With the help of many people including Bob Imler (Riverstone and former President of Casa Guanajuato) East Moline has grown by almost 45% of the size it was before he was elected.

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In the next 4 years, Mayor Thodos hopes to face the tough economic times head on, continue to work on getting Triumph foods here, bring more jobs, fix matters that need the city’s attention,and continue to build solid relationships with the people he serves, and the political people that serve our areas interests.

 “My story could be your story, it could be anyone‘s story. The more were different, the more we’re alike.” – Mayor John Thodos

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East Moline’s election will be February 24th.

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