What is the importance of City Council to residents of Champaign?
The importance and mission of the City Council should be to optimize the physical, mental & social health and well-being of all residents in the City of Champaign. The City Council is responsible for governing in an evidence based manner that promotes the community’s health and regulates commerce to allow for a fair market that does not infringe on the community’s well-being.
Why are you qualified to be on the City Council?
I’ve spent almost my entire life in Champaign-Urbana. I’ve seen first-hand how many of us are underrepresented and voiceless. I returned to Champaign in 2015 after completing my training as a physician with the ambitious goal of planning a long-term strategy to break the cycle of poverty in Champaign and become an advocate for the community. I have placed myself in multiple facets of the community in order to coordinate care for our community. For the past 3 years, several others and I have worked on a long-term community health initiative called Healthy Beginnings. The goal and long-term strategy is to build the infrastructure to break the cycle of poverty in our community. Healthy Beginnings thus far includes weekly nurse visits to first time pregnant women to provide care & support, child & family education, employment opportunities, and a mobile clinic (which I worked on one half day a week across from Garden Hills Elementary School). Continuing to become more involved in the community, I joined Representative Carol Ammons's community panels on education as well as health and human services. Since 2017, I have proudly supported Sistering CU, a non-profit organization run by 2 local parents that seeks to increase awareness of post-partum depression in our community and also provides support to parents with newborns. Finally, I joined the Dental Advisory Subcommittee for SmileHealthy and I was appointed to the Champaign Zoning Board in 2017. I am qualified to be on the City Council because I have a long-term vision to place Champaign on a brighter path. I hope that others will join me in pursuit of this vision.
If elected, what is something you want to accomplish on the City Council, and how long will it take?
Changes I would target from a city council perspective would be to advocate for investments in drainage and infrastructure in Garden Hills now rather than later, change ordinance violations to take into account an individual’s ability to pay so we don’t create debtors’ courts or prisons and to repeal Section 17-4.5 of the city code so we do not condemn ex-offenders to either being forced to buy a home, be homeless or be at the mercy of landlords. I would like to preserve a moratorium on new video gambling establishments and in the long-term decrease them and remove them from our community as they are detrimental to the long-term well-being of the community and will cost tax-payers more in the future. I would like to address these and other issues that affect the cycle of poverty so that in the long-term we will decrease gun violence and recidivism rates in our community leading to a more productive and healthier community.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?
My name is Dr. Jon Paul Youakim and I am a pediatrician running for Champaign City Council. I am running in order to empower families and other vulnerable community members with opportunities to lift themselves up and make our community stronger and more productive. Together, we can achieve a vision that creates long-lasting change for generations.