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2019 Election

Jacksonville Municipal Primary 2019

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Jacksonville residents are encouraged to vote in the municipal primary this Tuesday, February 26th. While the full municipal election is April 2nd, Jacksonville will be holding a primary for the two races where three candidates are running.

Ward 2:

Anthony “Tony” Williams
Alison L. Rubin de Celis
Benjamin T. Cox

Ward 3 (four year term):

Michael Bartlett
Robert Perkins
Nicole Riley

Both seats in Ward 3 were vacated last year. The two year term in Ward 3 will also be up for election in April. For more information on the Jacksonville municipal election, check out the city’s website here.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

2019 Election

Chatham Public Library hosts municipal candidates forum

Thomas Clatterbuck

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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.

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2019 Election

ICON announces 2019 endorsements

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Springfield ICON has announced their endorsements for the upcoming municipal election. ICON (Inner City Older Neighborhoods) based their decision on both written responses to their questionnaire, as well as their candidate forums held last month.

Identifying the issues facing Springfield and having plans to address them were key for endorsements. But ICON Chair Carol Kneedler said that having a positive outlook on these issues was important as well. Springfield does have its problems; but overemphasizing them is a problem in its own right.

The candidates that were endorsed are:

Mayor – Jim Langfelder (incumbent)

Clerk – Rianne Hawkins

Treasurer – Misty Buscher (incumbent)

Ward 1 – T. Ray McJunkins

Ward 2 – Gail Simpson

Ward 3 – Doris Turner (incumbent)

Ward 4 – John Fulgenzi (incumbent)

Ward 5 – Andrew Proctor (incumbent)

Ward 6 – Kristin DiCenso (incumbent)

Ward 7 – Joe McMenamin (incumbent)

Ward 8 – Erin Conley

Ward 9 – Jim Donelan (incumbent)

Ward 10 – Robert Patino

To learn more about Springfield ICON, check out their website. The municipal election is April 2nd, and early voting has already started.

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2019 Election

What makes a speech a campaign speech?

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Where is the line between raising awareness about community issues and campaigning on those issues? That was the question for the city council Tuesday night when Ward 3 write-in candidate Nadine Wright addressed the council during the public comment section of the meeting. Wright touched on some of the pressing issues in Ward 3, and asked the council to develop plans to address them.

Incumbent Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner immediately cried foul. Turner said that this was the second time Wright had used the public comment portion of a city council meeting to make a campaign speech. At a pervious meeting, Wright announced she was running write-in campaign against Turner. Turner’s objections raised several issues for the council on what was appropriate for public comment, as well as what constituted illegal campaigning.

What can you say during public comment?

Generally, citizens can talk about almost any issue they want during the public comment portion of a city council meeting. In just the last year, citizens have used this opportunity to talk about a wide range of issues, from weeds along the railroad tracks, to proposals to deal with the homeless situation downtown. And although the council might prefer that speakers stick to local topics that the council could actually address, the council has generally given speakers wide latitude to talk on whatever they wish.

While the council reaffirmed the public’s right to comment, Alderman Donelan pointed out that there are still rules restricting electioneering. Some things, like handing out campaign literature during the meeting, are clearly not allowed. But the line between bringing up city issues and campaigning on city issues is often a gray area. The same points can be brought in ways that are within the rule or that would constitute campaigning. Even some aldermen have accused each other of campaigning rather than debating when discussing council matters.

Some members of the council thought allowing candidates to speak during the public comment was not a good idea. Setting a precedent of what is allowed is hard to roll back. Alderman DiCenso blamed Mayor Langfelder, rather than Wright, saying, “The offense is that it was allowed.” Langfelder knew before the meeting that Wright was planning to speak.

The Inspector General will review the speeches given by Wright to see if they violate any policies, and hopefully will give guidance to the council about what is and is not against the rules. You can watch Wright’s speech and the ensuing discussion in the player. Her remarks start at 1:25:00.

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