The city of Morris’ mayoral race now has a third candidate.
John T. Brooks filed his petition to run Friday as an Independent candidate. He will, as a result, face incumbent Mayor Richard Kopczick, Democrat, and Alderman Drew Muffler, Republican, in the April 9, 2013, election.
The petition filing dates are different for Independents than Democrats or Republicans, who were required to file their petitions for the February primary election in November. There will be no primary races for the mayoral race.
Kopczick is coming to the end of his third term. Muffler has been an alderman since 2009.
Brooks currently serves in the Army Reserves and has for about eight years. Prior to that, he was in active duty for about 12 years. Many military men follow their service by becoming public servants and this is what he would like to do, said Brooks.
“The values of military training have the same concepts. Taking care of soldiers and getting a mission accomplished translates well into public service with taking care of the citizens and making sure they get all the public services they need,” he said.
Although he does not have any local political experience, Brooks has done the Army equivalent of government, he said.
He served in the military’s psychological operations, which Brooks describes as the army’s public relations team overseas to get out the United State’s strategic message in that country. He also was a civil affairs officer, who do assessments of infrastructure after a country is destroyed by war.
In getting signatures for his petition to run, Brooks said he has already met about 500 Morris residents.
“I’m looking forward to meeting more citizens of Morris and hearing their concerns,” he said.
Brooks said if he were elected he would like to look closer into the city’s professional service costs, such as the city engineering costs.
Brooks is full time with the reserves and conducts military funeral honors for the reserves as well. Kopczick has been mayor of Morris since 2001. Muffler is a full-time firefighter with Plainfield Fire Protection District and is a part-time firefighter and paramedic with the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District.
Brooks has two children, an 18-year-old son who is a senior at Morris Community High School and a 22-year-old daughter. He is no longer married. Kopczick is married with three adult children, while Muffler is married with one young child.