Rey voted in as mayor of DeKalb

By Northern Star Staff

John Rey will use his new position as mayor to bring the city and its leaders together.

Rey said his first goal as mayor will be to build a coalition with the seven aldermen on City Council. He said this will bring the group “together as a team.”

“Probably the first issue is developing the strategy to fill the city manager position, looking at what we want that person to represent, because that person is really the administrator of our organization,” Rey said. “I look forward to working with [future NIU] President [Doug] Baker, but also working with the student organizations.”

Rey took in 33.41 percent of the vote, or 1,500 votes, following Tuesday’s polling. Jennifer Groce followed with 1,298 votes (28.91 percent); Mike Verbic took in 1,088 votes (24.23) and David Jacobson 604 (13.45).

“I thought that the plurality would be closer between me and my closest opponent,” Rey said when running 7 percent ahead of Groce.

Rey said he felt “guardedly optimistic” about the outcome. His predecessor, Mayor Kris Povlsen, was optimistic about Rey, as well.

“I’m very pleased and have confidence in Mr. Rey,” Povlsen said. “He’s an excellent choice for the community. He understands the role of government, importance of community collaboration and the importance of business growth. He will move this community forward.”

Rey’s family was with him when the announcement was made Tuesday night. His wife, Marge, said she was shocked.

“I’m really excited for my dad,” said John Rey’s son, Dan Rey. “This is what we were hoping for.”

Chris Pitts, president of the Black Student Union and senior political science major, said Rey came to a BSU meeting and listened to the organization members’ concerns. Pitts said Rey was the only candidate who did that.

“Knowing his history and that he has been in DeKalb for a long time, he is the best for not only the community, but the campus, as well,” Pitts said. “Personally, I’m going to work with him this year and make a change.”

Rey said he had “a number of student [association] senators” speak to him and express support in his candidacy. Rey said he wants to build “a stronger relationship with those current students, but also with next year’s incoming officers.”

Other candidates reflected on their loss. Jacobson said he wished Rey luck. He called his loss “unfortunate” and said he didn’t believe the students voted.

Groce said “this was just the beginning” of her political aspirations.

“John and I have been friends for a long time, and I am excited about what he will do,” Groce said.

Verbic called the loss “disappointing.”

“I had so much support, so many people stepping up for my campaign,” Verbic said. “I feel like in some ways I’ve let them down; they really stepped up for me. But at the same time, congratulations to John [Rey]—it’s terrific, a great win for the city, and I hope that I can contribute in some way to making DeKalb a better place.”

Rey was a founding member of the DeKalb County Education Foundation, is the current secretary and past president of the Kiwanis Club of DeKalb and is serving as secretary on the Re:New DeKalb Board of Directors.

Rey attained his bachelor’s of science degree in industrial economics from Purdue University and his master’s degree in business administration from NIU.

“I’m very pleased that the challenge is in front of me,” Rey said.

Editor’s Note: Staff writers Ryan Chodora, Brooke Shinberg and Logan Love contributed to this article.