Kankakee Park commissioner throws his hat into spring mayoral race


Share post:

A half-decade ago, veteran Kankakee Valley Park District commissioner J.J. Hollis said he began testing the waters for a higher level of political office.

This week, Hollis, a lifelong Kankakee resident who turns 50 next month, set in stone what exactly those higher aspirations will entail — running on the Republican Party ticket for this spring’s mayoral race.

Hollis’ announcement he is officially seeking the mayoral post means there will be two partisan primaries for the top-level elected seat in February.

Hollis will face off against Republican challenger Chris Curtis, an alderman representing the city’s Sixth Ward. On the Democrat ticket, incumbent Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong is running against Angela Shea, a member of the Kankakee School Board.

Hollis has served on the park district for more than a decade-and-a-half. He said he earnestly considered seeking the mayoral position the last go-around but wanted to devote the time necessary to see his son off to college. 

“I’ve been contemplating this for a while,” Hollis said. “I’m not going to be one of those people who stays on a board for 30 or 40 years. I have higher aspirations.”

When asked about what issues he believes are of concern to Kankakee residents, Hollis said three separate, yet intertwined, matters are front and center in his mind: economic development, job creation and eradicating the recent spike in violence within the community.

“I truly believe economic development and jobs takes care of a lot,” Hollis said. “If people have a sense of goals and accomplishments, they won’t have time to do anything else.”

As campaign season heats up, Hollis said he has no qualms with Wells-Armstrong, though he said he believes more could be done to move Kankakee forward. He pointed to Amazon’s announcement of placing a fulfillment center in Matteson as an example.

“We should’ve been in play for that. We should’ve been in play for a lot of things,” he said. “But I will never say anything bad about the current administration. They’re doing a good job.”

Hollis, a coach and sports enthusiast, said he is using metaphors in that realm to spread the word about his higher political ambitions.

“I’m not getting into anything I can’t handle,” he said. “I’m excited, ready to go and want to get this whole process started. As I tell my kids in football, ‘It’s ‘go time.’”

Dave Fidlin
Dave Fidlin
Dave Fidlin is a veteran journalist, with 20 years experience, who has a passion for community news because no two communities are alike! Follow him on Twitter at @dfidlin_writer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related articles

Jeep vs. Garbage Truck crash on Route 50 sends three to Hospital

KANKAKEE - Three people were hospitalized after a crash Tuesday morning involving a garbage truck. According to Illinois State Police...

Man allegedly stole nearly $2k in Meds from Peotone CVS 

PEOTONE - Police are searching for information on a man who allegedly stole nearly $2,000 worth of over the...

Christmas Light Map showcases 2022 noteworthy locations throughout Chicagoland 

CHICAGO - A Google Map featuring some of Chicagoland’s most decorated homes has emerged online just in time for...

Christmas Is Coming To Perry Farm

BOURBONNAIS — Christmas on the Farm is coming to Perry Farm next Saturday, December 3rd. The event runs 9 a.m....