Sunday night’s mayoral debate brought up issues Champaign voters care about: how to collaborate with the school district; how to address the lack of green space in this growing city; how to seed more business, especially minority-owned; and how to enhance the city’s family-friendly culture.
But it veered from most debates in a few other ways.
We learned what karaoke song they would sing, and why.
We asked about the most memorable live performance they’ve seen in Champaign in the past five years.
We even heard what they admire about one another.
All in all, attendees gained insight about who the candidates are and how they think; how they differ from one another, and what they agree on.
Here’s the good news: it’s pretty clear that whomever becomes the next mayor of Champaign is passionate about the potential and possibilities for the region’s largest city. The four-candidate field is deep, and provides choice for voters.
Here’s the bad news: Only one of the candidates can win a seat to public office. None of the defeated candidates will remain in elected office following Tuesday’s election, even those besides Mayor Don Gerard who currently hold other offices. In the case of Deb Feinen and Karen Foster, their at-large Champaign City Council terms are up; the seats are open and being contested (three candidates are running for three open at-large seats). Joe Petry’s stint on the Champaign Park District’s Board of Commissioners is over, as his term concludes with this election.
Thanks to all who attended, tweeted, or even wanted to attend Sunday’s debate. Thanks to Jupiter’s at the Crossing for being a great host, especially its staff. And many thanks to our partners in crime at Smile Politely, here’s to many more afternoons like that one. The biggest thanks goes to the four candidates, for being good sports and having some fun with us – proving that politics and government doesn’t have to be boring.
So be sure to vote on April 7 (or vote early if need be). There are plenty of opportunities.
Without further ado, the recap from Twitter. Here is the audio of the debate.