Gina Meeks ready to follow John Beck’s legacy in Rockford’s 12th ward

Meeks will be officially sworn in next month.
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - For 19 years, the late John Beck represented Rockford’s 12th ward with pride in the council chambers, and now the voters in that neighborhood elect a new representative.

“He would have continued his reign I think for as long as he continued to be on this earth,” 12th Ward Alderperson Elect Gina Meeks said.

Meeks says she wants to serve each person in the 12th ward, and she says some of the ways she hopes to do so, she learned by watching Beck.

“I think John is smiling because he knows that there’s a good person that’s coming in behind him,” 9th Ward Alderperson Bill Rose said.

New faces will make their way to Rockford City Council chambers in may when they take the seats voters elect them to, but for Meeks sitting in that chair will mean replacing an icon.

“I knew coming into this that I had a certain standard and big shoes to fill in I was ready to do that,” Meeks said.

Meeks is the first African American woman to serve the 12th ward, and the first person elected to do so since Beck died last April. Meeks says she wants to emulate some of the characteristics beck had.

“I really saw how he was so willing to bring people together and I think that is so important,” Meeks said.

“John didn’t look at someone as a Republican or Democrat, he looked at the project and the needs,” 7th Ward Alderperson Ann Thompson-Kelly said. “I think Gina Meeks is going to do an excellent job. I think she’ll be very successful.”

Meeks witnessed Beck’s work firsthand living in the 12th ward for the last seven years. She says she is ready to step in and make a difference.

“I’m going to be myself and that’s what I’m going to bring to the 12th ward,” Meeks said. “I’m going to bring me and I’m going to bring everything that I represent, and it just so happens that everything I represent also is so many of the things that John Beck represented.”

Meeks will be officially sworn in as 12th ward Alderperson in May. She said she also plans to be heavily involved in the Rockford Snow Sculpting Competition, an event Beck spearheaded and loved.

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