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2019 Election

Langfelder, McMenamin discuss the Capital Township question

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Illinois is notorious for having too many units of government. Capital Township, which is coterminous with the City of Springfield, is widely considered obsolete. Local leaders are working to abolish the township, a move which should save taxpayers nearly $500,000 per year. But questions remain on what is to become of the township’s functions once it is dissolved. One proposal is to merge the township with the county. Supporters of this proposal point to the several county officials who also perform roles for the township. This question will appear on the November 6th ballot.

However, not everyone thinks that the county should take over the township. Mayor Jim Langfelder and Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin agree that the township should be dissolved, but they think the city should take over the remaining township functions. Normally, a townships’ primary function is to deal with roads. But because Capital Township is coterminous, or lies wholly within, the City of Springfield, it has no roads to take care of. The city takes care of the roads.

The other main function of the township handles is economic development. Langfelder pointed out that while the county could perform this function, it makes much more sense for the city to handle issues that will impact its community directly. Springfield may be the largest city in Sangamon County, but the County Board represents the numerous smaller communities in the county. The Springfield City Council, however, only represents the city, and is better positioned to assist local economic needs. McMenamin went on to say that the city should be the ones decided what taxes are levied and what money are spent. He likened it to letting Indiana making decision for Illinois. McMenamin also pointed out that when coterminous townships are dissolved, they are typically dissolved into their municipality, not their county.

The ballot questions

In November, township residents will see the county’s plan to give the township to the county on the ballot. Because this is a non-binding question, the results of the vote will only be informative to the county and township board. Similarly, the proposed question by Mayor Langfelder is also non-binding and will also have no effect on its own.

Because the city council declined to put the city’s question on the ballot, voters will first need to sign the a petition to get the question on the April 2019 ballot. Langfelder will need at least 3,000 signatures to get on the ballot, but the final number of signatures they need will not be known until after the November election. Supporters of the mayor’s position are currently passing petitions, and their efforts are expected to pick up after the November election. Only voters in the township can sign the petition.

No matter what results the ballot questions bring back, the Township will still need need to vote to absolve itself. The township has already agreed to absolve itself to the county, but Langfelder cautioned that this was possibly due to the officials who overlap between the county and the township. And the county would still need approval from the state to take over the township because it is coterminous with a municipality.

You can watch our full interview with Langfelder and McMenamin in the player below. We apologize that the audio is not up to our normal standards.

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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

Springfield reelects Langfelder, most incumbents

Thomas Clatterbuck

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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.

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2019 Election

Morgan County Republicans host municipal candidate form for Jacksonville

Thomas Clatterbuck

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The April 2nd election is just a few days away, and candidates are making their final appeals to voters. To help voters make an informed decision, the Republican Women’s Club of Morgan County hosted a candidate forum for Jacksonville and South Jacksonville municipal candidates on March 26th. This event was a chance for residents to learn more about the candidates seeking seats on the city council and village board.

Nearly all of the Jacksonville aldermanic candidates were in attendance. Both Anthony “Tony” Williams and Benjamin T. Cox came out for Ward 2. Donald Cook and Louis H. Eason III for Ward 5 were also present. Although Michael Bartlett and Brandon C. Adams are both running in Ward 3, they are running for different seats. Bartlett is facing off against Nicole Riley for the normal four-year term. Adams will face Karen Day-Mudd for the two year term that was vacated last fall.

The candidates had a clear focus on infrastructure development and economic development. Like many small towns, Jacksonville is facing a shrinking population and job losses. Making Jacksonville a more attractive place for businesses and residents will be the main focus for the city council after the election.

South Jacksonville

Half of the South Jacksonville trustee candidates attended the forum. Chris Norton, Jenn Slavin, Todd A. Warrick, and Stacy Pinkerton all made their case for office. Tom Jordan, Jason Hill, and John Stewart were not present.

South Jacksonville’s candidates had similar recommendations for the village. Improving roads and sidewalks was a major concern. However, local water infrastructure and increasing staffing at the fire department were also touched on as well.

You can watch the forum in the player. Due to an equipment issue, we were unable to record the opening statements for Cook, Cox, or Bartlett. The municipal election is April 2nd, and early voting is still ongoing.

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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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