Perhaps you’re a voter in Champaign, or maybe you just enjoy great political theater. Regardless, we hope you will join us on Sunday, March 29 as chambanamoms.com joins forces with our friends at Smile Politely to host a lively debate with the four Champaign mayoral candidates.
We purposely put this event at a family-friendly location where parents would feel comfortable, so come on out to Jupiter’s at the Crossing for a Sunday afternoon chat at 4 p.m.
Election day is right around the corner, and voters (at least, the ones who haven’t voted early) are still making up their minds. To that end, we asked all four Champaign mayoral candidates the same two questions as a warm up for Sunday’s festivities:
1. What have you done in the past to make Champaign a better place for families?
2. As Mayor, what issues will you focus on to make Champaign a better place for families?
See below for their answers, unedited, with candidates in alphabetical order. And be sure to join us on Sunday for more (submit your own questions below).
Public Office Experience: Appointed as at-large City Council member in 2006, elected in 2007
Question 1: What have you done in the past to make Champaign a better place for families? I was and am an advocate for our high speed internet fiber network in this community which provides tremendous opportunity. The network connects non-profits, government (SCHOOLS), and homes also, educational opportunities for local students have increased significantly with their ability to connect to the network. I have also voted against tax increases that burden local families and make it harder for them to afford homes or rent or to pay for goods and gas in Champaign.
Question 2: I will focus on curbing the current rash of gun violence in our City. I will continue to support complete streets (bike and walking paths), the arts (40 North), recycling, our sustainability plan, and other similar programs. I will continue to work to keep our budget balanced without increasing the tax burden on families so that they have money available for housing, food, and other essentials.
Public Office Experience: Elected to Champaign City Council in 2007
Question 1: Champaign’s Growing Greener Environmental Sustainability Plan includes allowing hens to live in backyards and I was pivotal in voting for them which is one of the many ways I have made Champaign better for families. As a teacher, I feel that hens allow children to learn how to care for and experience another type of animal different from the traditional household pet. Hens also provide eggs which can provide nourishment and their waste helps the compost bin that can make gardening more productive.
Question 2: I will be focusing on continuing to alleviate flooding by pursuing stormwater projects, such as Phase 3 of the West Washington drainage plan, Boneyard 3rd Reach north of University and engineering studies of the Garden Hills subdivision. Basement flooding causes such a financial impact on homeowners, as well as stress with worry when it rains. By alleviating flooding, families will have more money to spend for other household expenses or savings instead of replacing valuable furnaces, water heaters and other basement items.
CANDIDATE: Don Gerard
Public Office Experience: Incumbent Mayor, elected as Mayor of Champaign in 2011
Question 1: I never knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up” until I was sworn in as a public servant for the first time in 2011. Whether traversing the state to champion the effort to preserve our clean water supply, stepping up and bringing for the initiative to finally enact the Summer Youth Employment Program the city and school district had sitting on a shelf unfunded or striving to attend any and every community event I can cram onto my calendar, I truly feel I am being the type of mayor the people of Champaign deserve. It is my sincere hope I inspire and engage not only every voter, but ever citizen of every age who wishes to believe they live in the best small city in America.
Question 2: We need to keep moving forward to make our neighborhoods safer, continue to foster an environment of local commerce which encourages and sponsors family-friendly events such as Friday Night Live and the Building Fair and dignifies every organization which enriches the lives of our children – from Boy Scouts to 4H to arts and music programs and the like. It is imperative our taxing bodies work together – Park District, City, School District, Parkland – to partner in programs and initiatives to foster an inclusive and productive environment for all families. I also think we need to bring back the idea of a plaza downtown.
CANDIDATE: Joe Petry
Public Office Experience: 12 years on the Champaign Park District board of Commissioners, currently board president
Question 1: I am very proud of my 12 years at the Champaign Park District board of commissioners. We spend most of our time and effort finding ways to be responsive to our families. We have built trails for walking and biking in our parks (Hessel Park, Sunset Ridge, Douglass, etc), invested in additional open space so our families can enjoy the outdoors, invested in our historic Virginia Theatre so families can enjoy theatre and shows together, and built the indoor Leonard Recreation Center for everyone to enjoy indoor recreation.Question 2: At the cornerstone of my campaign is economic development and have outlined a plan of what I see as a community vision for Champaign found here. One of the things I would love to see is something like a science museum to bring families downtown and out of town visitors to our community. Something that is a great representation of our city and the great things we do here.
Do you have a question we should ask the candidates? Send it HERE!