What is the importance of the Mayor to residents of Champaign?
The Mayor is often the public face of the City and the person to whom the Citizens bring their concerns and suggestions. The Mayor convenes the meetings and talks regularly with Council Members about issues before the City. The Mayor provides leadership and an interface with the City staff. In the City Manager form of Government it is important for the Mayor to have a good working relationship with the City Manager and City staff as well as with the other Council Members.
Why are you qualified to be Mayor?
I have served as an elected official in the City of Champaign since 2006 including one term as Mayor and was a County Board Member (former Vice-Chair of the Board) for 14 years. That experience is a strength in the position of Mayor. I have a good working relationship with other Council Members, the public, City staff, the City Manager and other City Department Heads. I am also an attorney.
If elected, what is something you want to accomplish as Mayor, and how long will it take?
I want to continue to work on reaching kids and young adults in meaningful ways to stop the gun violence in our community. I will support continuing the goal getters program and initiatives like TRUCE along with work force development programs, youth employment services, CU-Fresh Start, Community Coalition, MOMS Demand Action, the reading mentor program (in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce) and new or additional programs with similar goals. I support the City engaging with the school district in meaningful ways to make a difference for our at risk kids and focusing on trauma informed care. This goal has a long horizon but is important to the ultimate success of our community. It also includes the needs for safety and economic stability for all citizens of our City. I can not put a timeline on these goals but I am committed to the City being actively engaged in the success of our kids and their families and to programs that will make a difference.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?
My willingness to listen, even to opposition sets me apart from many politicians. I also think that my experience as a lawyer helps me to see solutions and to negotiate with people to reach resolution. I am not afraid to take hard votes or to work to get votes for issues of importance. I am also not afraid to change my mind when convinced and I have learned that over time my position on issues may change as I talk to people in our community and/or stake holders.