Truesdale's newest alderman 'excited' about city's growth

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 7/25/23

“So it’s kind of nice now to see the inside workings and know that I could have a say in the growth of the community since this is our home.”

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Truesdale's newest alderman 'excited' about city's growth


Truesdale has a mayor and a full board of aldermen again after former Mayor Chris Watson’s resignation temporarily left a seat open.

Justin Naranjo was sworn in at a special meeting of the board prior to the normal July 12 meeting. He takes the seat of Jerry Cannon, who was appointed to the mayoral position during the June 28 meeting.

It’s a foray into a new role for Naranjo, who has never run for alderman before.

“I was neighbors with Chris (Watson). He had discussed it with me last year about the possibility of looking into it,” Naranjo said. “We talked about it a little bit and then Jerry actually reached out to me once he realized he was going to be appointed as mayor to see if I’d be interested in the alderman position.”

Running for office and serving as an alderman wasn’t something Naranjo had thought about prior to those discussions.

“It kind of took me off guard,” when Cannon called and asked him to serve, he said. “To get to talk with him, and he was very straightforward on what the expectations were, the big projects that were coming up and that everybody on the board is really, really cohesive. Everybody gets along really well, so it’s important to have that conversation.

“I was really open on what I was going to get myself into,” Naranjo said. “So that helped quite a bit to be able to say ‘yeah, let’s give it a try.”

Naranjo, who has lived in Truesdale for “a little over 10 years now,” said he was interested in the position for one reason.

“My wife and I, we decided this is where we’re going to raise our family,” he said. “So it’s kind of nice now to see the inside workings and know that I could have a say in the growth of the community since this is our home.”

Naranjo and Cannon will both serve in their appointed positions until the next election in April 2024. Naranjo said he looks forward to serving as an appointed official to decide if he wants to run for election next spring.

“It’s a unique situation for me that most don’t get, being appointed, because I get the opportunity to see how things grow and if things are going good and if everybody agrees that it feels like this is a good spot for me, I feel like it’s a good spot for me then in December I’ll put in a run for it,” he said.

Petitions for anyone seeking office in the April election are due in December.

Until then, Naranjo said he’s looking forward to helping Truesdale grow.

“Truesdale really is growing quite a bit from what it has the last few years,” he said. “So really I’m just excited to see what I can bring to that. And then also of course, if anybody has converse to listen to and see what solutions we might have for them as well.”

The new alderman said he didn’t have any specific projects he would like to see the city take on, but was “excited” for some of the “big ones” already in progress.

“The city’s going to be almost doubling with Elkhorn coming in and then of course the street repairs that are coming in,” Naranjo said. “I’m excited to be part of moving forward.”

Naranjo says he appreciates the opportunity he has to serve the people of Truesdale.

“I look forward to seeing what we can do in the next several months and then, if everything works out, definitely run to keep the seat.”

After Naranjo was added to the board, aldermen appointed Mike Thomas as the new president of the board. The role of president had been Cannon’s position before he was appointed mayor. Thomas has been an alderman since 2017.

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at

truesdale, alderman, appoint, mayor, board