Simons And Dockery Set To Square Off In Mayoral Race

Joyce Coates
Enterprise Staff
The incumbent, Mayor Eddie Simons, and former Alderman Kevin Dockery, have each filed to be a candidate for mayor in the April 2018 election. Any others who are qualified and decide to run for mayor (or for alderperson) must file with the City Clerk by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
Simons, a retired postmaster, served on various city boards and commissions before being elected three times as an alderman. He was elected mayor for the first time in April 2012, and is now serving his third term.
Simons said he is running for a fourth term “because I believe in Warsaw’s bright future; there are things I want to see happen.” 
“The city is unique.” Besides its residents within the city limits, Warsaw serves a growing number of tourists. Also, many people living just outside the city limits come to Warsaw regularly on business, to shop, or to enjoy recreational amenities like the swimming pool.
The mayor’s role is an important one, Simons said, one that he takes seriously.  He is honored to be addressed as “Mr. Mayor,” but considers himself no better than any other person in the community. He does not sit and wait for matters to be brought to him, but rather he wants to be visible, to let people know him as a person who listens and gives each person his full attention.  
Simons believes in returning emails and phone calls as quickly as possible and remaining accessible to the public. He works with a great city staff, he said, to serve the best interests of the city. 
For example, communication between the city and the school district administration is great; in fact, they have an excellent relationship that leads to working together effectively to solve problems like traffic safety issues which concerns parents dropping off their kids at the North School.   In another context, the Parks and Recreation staff work with the school to open part-time summer jobs for high school students as lifeguards, sports-event umpires and in maintenance positions. 
His vision for the future, Simons said, is to direct resources after completion of projects to upgrade the harbor, trails, and the swinging bridge, improve roads and build sidewalks. 
Besides being a good thing for citizens, it will also raise property values.
Dockery, elected the first time in 2003, served three terms as alderman until 2009. He decided not to run again after he became a single parent with three sons to raise. But in 2013 he was appointed to serve out the remainder of the late Alderman Fitzpatrick’s term, and was then elected to another two-year term in 2014.
His youngest son will graduate from high school in 2018. Dockery believes the time is now right for him to pursue his long-held desire to run for mayor, which he said would be another way to continue in community service.
An Eagle Scout himself, Dockery has been active in Boy Scouts for 18 years.  He has served as Scout Master for 13 years; a Cub Master for 4-1/2 years, and a Den Leader for one year before that. He has given notice that he will step down from formal Scout positions in August 2018.
The mayor, Dockery said, “should be the biggest promoter and must be the person most excited about the city!”  In partnership with city administration, in collaboration with key personnel in the city and county, and with community organizations like the Lions Club, the American Legion, Shriners, etc., he would work to encourage local business growth through city means.
Like Simons, Dockery described Warsaw as “unique.”  Although its size and population are small, the city is part of a larger community with resorts dependent on tourism. It is important to encourage cooperation with neighbors outside the city limits. They are affected by the quality of the city’s utilities and amenities, and they in turn affect the city. Therefore, everyone in the broader community has an interest in the city’s success.
Dockery has stayed current on city news.  He attended a council meeting about two months ago. He will attend this week’s meeting, and will attend regularly going forward. “I encourage everyone to take interest, and in whatever way you can to be a part of making the community better.”
Simons and Dockery are looking forward to spending time with their families over the holidays before getting into “campaign mode.” And, who knows that some one or more hopefuls may join the race for mayor before the January 16 deadline?