The April 2nd municipal election is rapidly approaching. Candidates for local offices like the village board and school board are making their final appeals to voters. To help voters make an informed decision, the Chatham Area Public Library and Chatham Area Chamber of Commerce held a candidates form on Thursday night. The four candidates for village board, and five candidates for contested school board seats came out to make their cases.
The Village Board
Krisen Chiaro, Andrew “Dewey” Detmers, Terrance H. Fountain, and Matthew Mau are running for 3 positions on the Village Board. Detmers, Fountain, and Man are all incumbents. All of the candidates agreed that infrastructure was the key issue for the village. The village is facing $28 million in needed road improvements, and figuring out how to pay for it will be a challenge for the next board. Water service is another pressing issue for Chatham. Ensuring residents have access to reliable, cheap, and clean water is also a continual concern for the board.
The School Board
Duane Sieren, Patrick Phipps, Jerry Harrison, Steven R. Bryant, and Kyle C. Barry are running for 3 positions on the school board. Sieren is the only incumbent up for a contested seat. Transparency and restoration were the dominant themes of the school board candidates. Chatham remains a destination because of its strong school system, but in the last several years the district has had real challenges. Controlling class sizes, and getting adequate staffing in both full time and substitute staff are two of the specific issues the candidates mentioned. However, despite these issues, the district is recovering well and candidates were very confident the district can continue to improve and be a draw for the community.
Candidates were also invited to talk about their involvement with the community and personal and professional backgrounds. You can watch the full forum in the player.
Recount planned for Ward 2
Voters in Ward 2 proved the old adage that every vote matters. On election night, it looked like Shawn Gregory had clinched the Ward 2 aldermanic race by one vote. But after all of the votes were tallied, his opponent Gail Simpson was certified as the winner; also by just one vote. With such a narrow margin, a challenge was almost inevitable.
At a special meeting of the city council, a formal recount was approved. Recounts are required from time to time, and so Springfield does have some experience with them. But setting up all of the specifics for the recount will take some time. At the June 4th meeting, the City Council will approve the recount plan and set a date for when it will happen.
While conceptually simple, a recount is a serious undertaking. It is more than just the County Clerk going back to the ballot boxes and tallying the votes again. Careful steps have to be taken to ensure the integrity of the vote. Lawyers for both candidates will be present to go through each ballot to determine how they should be counted. There will also be impartial observers, but these have yet to be selected.
In the mean time, Gail Simpson will be seated as Ward 2 alderman. The inauguration is Wednesday, May 22nd, and will take place at UIS’ Sangamon Auditorium. She will be the acting alderman for the ward at least until the recount is completed.
You can watch the council’s full discussion in the player.
New faces joining Jacksonville city council tonight
The Jacksonville City Council will be welcoming its two new members at tonight’s meeting. Brandon Adams defeated incumbent Karen Day-Mudd 167 to 139 in Ward 3. Mudd had recently been appointed for the remaining two years of the term. Adams will be joined by fellow newcomer Eren Williams. Williams was running unopposed in Ward 1.
Michael Bartlett, the other Ward 3 incumbent, fended off challenger Nicole Riley by a margin of just four votes. Incumbents Tony Williams (Ward 2) and Donald Cook (Ward 5) also won their reelection bids. Incumbent Aaron Scott (Ward 4) ran unopposed.
The swearing-in ceremony will be held tonight in the City Council room. The workshop session starts at 6:00 PM, with the chamber session following after.
You can see all the results for Jacksonville here.
Springfield reelects Langfelder, most incumbents
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting in, it appears Jim Langfelder has won another term as Springfield’s mayor. Langfelder received 58 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Frank Edwards, received 42 percent. He took 14,573 of the 25,092 votes cast.
Mayor Langfelder will have a familiar group with him at the council. City Treasurer Misty Buscher and City Clerk Frank Lesko both defeated their challengers. Lesko held on against Rianne Hawkins 54-46. Buscher won with 74 percent over Jennifer Notariano. Aldermanic races were mostly in favor of incumbents as well. Chuck Redpath (Ward 1), John Fulgenzi (Ward 4), Andrew Proctor (Ward 5), Kristin DiCenso (Ward 6), Joe McMenamin (Ward 7), and Ralph Hanauer (Ward 10) all retired their seats. Dorris Turner (Ward 3) and James Donelan (Ward 9) had no registered opponents.
Ward 8 was an open race. Longtime Alderman Kris Theilen term-limited out, and three candidates ran for the seat. Erin Conley won, taking 58 percent over Dean Graven’s 36 percent.
It currently looks as if Willie “Shawn” Gregory will be the next Ward 2 alderman. Gregory won over Gail Simpson by a single vote, 464 to 463. Alderman Herman Senor came in third, with 392 votes, or 28 percent.
For the full results of the Springfield election, as well as other races in Sangamon County, check of the County Clerk’s election page.