Dunkin makes local history, and a difference

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BELOIT - Beloit City Council President Regina Dunkin doesn't just want to be a part of history, she wants to help make it.

Dunkin's appointment as council leader on April 16 makes her Beloit's first black female council president.

"I don't want to just make history, I want to make a difference," Dunkin said. "This is bigger than me. I am truly passionate about Beloit, including mentoring and encouraging others, especially children, to live out their dreams."

Dunkin recalled what she told kids at the 2019 Stateline Boys and Girls Club "Today's Dreamers Tomorrow's Leaders" event in order to have the best chance to succeed later in life. She told the children one must "love themselves, be passionate and know it's okay to make mistakes, just not the same ones."

She's currently the community relations coordinator at Beloit Health System, and has served on the council since 2017. Before her time at the health system, Dunkin served as executive director of the Merrill Community Center for 18 years. The Beloit College graduate and Gary, Indiana native is married to former Beloit deputy police chief Tom Dunkin. They have three children.

Earlier this year she was appointed cabinet co-chair to United Way Blackhawk Region, and on Thursday she will be reappointed as vice chair of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Board by Gov. Tony Evers.

During her term as president, Dunkin said she wants to continue to focus the city's efforts tied to the Merrill and Hackett revitalization plan; help find ways to support the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative; and emphasize early childhood development in partnership with the School District of Beloit.

In terms of economic growth, Dunkin said the city needed to continue to be ready for movement on the Beloit Ho-Chunk Nation casino-resort, but focus on developments already underway including the Beloit College Powerhouse project.

Dunkin said she wants the council to have more discussion in open forum to spur public comment on key city issues, stressing citizens should vocalize concerns for things at council meetings and at public hearings.

In working with City Manager Lori Curtis Luther, Dunkin said Luther was doing "an excellent job."

"We give her the responsibility to lead city operations and she's done an excellent job at that," Dunkin said. "We don't want to micromanage her. It's our duty as a council to set public policy and be a policy-driven entity. We want what is best for Beloit."

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