Mayor Tom McNamara took office as the 41st mayor of Rockford on May 1, 2017. He was re-elected on April 6, 2021 and sworn in to a second term on May 3, 2021.
Prior to becoming Mayor, Tom served the community for four years as 3rd Ward Alderman, representing constituents on Rockford’s east and west sides, as well as downtown. As Mayor, Tom has focused on developing and implementing plans to reduce crime, increasing police technology and training, strengthening neighborhoods and schools and encouraging economic development. He has worked to reduce the city’s property taxes and has appointed members to commissions and board who are fiscally responsible and share a likeminded responsibility to use taxpayer funding efficiently and effectively.
Among the general accomplishments of Mayor McNamara and his team:
- Led a team that saw an overall 16 percent reduction in violent crime rates.
- Formed the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence & Human Trafficking Prevention
- Opened the state’s only Family Peace Center to support DV/HT survivors
- Implemented the largest Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) in the City’s history to improve Rockford’s streets, bridges and infrastructure.
- Aggressively worked to reduce the impact of blighted commercial and residential properties.
- Recapitalized the Northern Illinois Community Development Corporation (RLDC) partnership of 10 banks to provide $4 million to support small business owners.
- Obtained a casino license for Rockford, welcoming the Hard Rock Casino to the community, pending Illinois Gaming Board approval.
- Supported the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) and its role as an economic engine for the region. More than 8,500 employees now work on RFD’s 3,000+ acre property, which is now the 19th largest cargo airport in the US and the fastest-growing cargo airport in the world.
- Restructured Head Start to increase the number of young children who can access the program
- Increased the profile and impact of Rockford Promise, to make college more accessible and affordable for RPS 205 students, including forming the Rockford Promise/Northern Illinois University Scholarship Program, which allows RPS 205 students to attend NIU tuition-free.
- Retired the last of the City’s long-term road debt.
- Reduced the City’s property tax levy each year since taking office. The tax rate is now under 2.9 percent, a 3.3 percent decrease from 2019.
- Maintained an overall City workforce with one-third fewer non-public safety staff than our peer communities.
- Established the Community Relations Commission to advise the City on social justice, law enforcement, and discrimination and equality/equity issues.
- Led Rockford in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing a joint City/County Emergency Operations Center, launching the Rebounding Rockford working group, develop a loan program to aid small and medium-sized businesses and secured state and federal funding to support businesses impacted by the pandemic.
- Led the community conversation and action on issues of social justice, equity and equality, including reforms to law enforcement procedures and policies and the passage of a body-worn camera program that will take effect in 2021.
Mayor McNamara serves on many boards across the community, including the Alignment Rockford Governing Board, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Illinois Community Revitalization Task Force, Illinois Municipal League Board of Directors, JB Pritzker’s Budget and Innovation Team, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Workforce Connection Board.
The mayor is a graduate of Rockford’s Boylan Catholic High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and criminology and a master’s degree in non-profit administration, both from John Carroll University in Cleveland. He and his wife Sarah live with their two children in the Churchill’s Grove neighborhood.