How a Mexican immigrant became mayor in Illinois’ Trump country. ‘People here just get along’

Published by
Chicago Tribune

ARCOLA, Ill. — Jesus Garza’s palms were sweating as he pulled his stocky frame up behind the wheel of a green Jeep Gladiator to take his spot at the head of the 50th annual Broomcorn Festival parade. In the 28 years since he left Mexico to work in a broom factory in this small central Illinois city, Garza always attended the local festival, but he never rode in the parade, let alone at the front as the town’s mayor. His anxiety quickly gave way to joy. Residents jammed along Arcola’s brick streets cheered, clapped and shouted “Jesus!” and “Mr. Mayor!” as Garza gleefully chucked candy while cho…

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