O’FALLON — The other day, a young man turned to O’Fallon mayor Gary Graham and said, “You
are the only mayor I have ever known.”
touched my heart,” Graham told the Madison County Record.
than 26 years of public service under his belt, Graham, a Republican, is stepping down as
mayor, a role he has held for 20 years. His term ends next month.
population has increased by 17,000 because of top schools, world-class parks and the safety provided by our police," Graham said. "I get the most pride out of knowing that
I am leaving a city which history will show the next 20 years will be greater
than the past 20."
In next Tuesday's election, Graham supports fellow Republican, City Clerk Phil Goodwin, over Alderman Herb Roach, a Democrat.
Campaign finance records show that Goodwin has received more than $52,000 from 48 individual contributors, including $5,000 from Graham's campaign committee.
Roach's campaign committee has raised $6,500 from seven contributors, including $1,000 from a local steamfitters labor organization.
office in 1997, Graham has been instrumental in turning the town into a city. In
addition to using hotel room taxes to expand the town’s park system to more than
400 acres, Graham and council members have overseen the construction of a new city hall and provided space for a veterans monument park, public safety and park
storage buildings, a new skate park and two new fire stations.
leadership, new sidewalks were built around the city’s schools and along the
done all these things, keeping our debt ratio to assets lower than when I
was first elected,” Graham said.
O’Fallon," which includes a state-of-the-art sports park and a new downtown
pavilion, is something Graham considers “another huge economic machine for our
city.” The new businesses on I-64 and the sports park have created
millions of dollars a year in sales taxes to the city.
has grown from $2 million to approximately $9 million a year," Graham said. "We estimate with
the opening of the world-class soccer and baseball facility our sales tax
will grow to $15 million a year."
regret the mayor has is the time he had to give up with his wife, Lucia, and
been the reason for my success as mayor, husband and father,” Graham said. “I
have attended over 500 city council meetings, thousands of public meetings and
more chicken dinners than I care to count. It has been a labor of love, and I
wouldn’t take a million dollars for the experience nor three million for
As far as
the upcoming election between Goodwin and Roach, Graham hopes the city picks a business-friendly, positive,
someone looking back at the glass half-empty instead of half-full," Graham said. "If a city
doesn’t move forward, it will fail to meet its destiny for its citizens."
On a final
note, Graham thanked his constituents.
“I want to
thank all the people that supported me and those who didn’t because they all
made me a better person," he said. "I love you one and all and forgive me for all the
things I wasn’t able to accomplish because you deserve only the best."