CHAMPAIGN – In his last meeting as a city councilman, Kyle Harrison listened to his successor explain why he or she should get the vacant seat.
Harrison and the rest of the council still do not know who that successor is, but they did get a little more insight on Tuesday night into the hopes of the four candidates for the spot.
Harrison’s resignation takes effect on Friday; on June 19, the council will select who among the four who spoke last night will take over the District 3 office until the end of Harrison’s term next spring.
“I will not only voice my own ideas but, as you all do, I'm looking forward to working as part of the team,” said Lynn Anderson, a retired high school teacher.
She told council members that she is supportive of the infrastructure improvements that city officials are making and of the summer youth employment program that launched this week.
“It's important to me that our community's voice is always heard and that they are proud, like I am, very proud to live in the city of Champaign,” Anderson said.
Barbara Kenny-Langendorf, who owns a home construction company, said District 3 is very diverse, with both low- and high-income residential neighborhoods and business centers. Its representative needs to be careful and thoughtful in decision-making, she said.
And she said business concerns would top her agenda.
The most important idea for me though that carries the most weight in my heart is new business,” Kenny-Langendorf said. “Bringing business to town, keeping it here, employing people. I'd love to see more minorities, more women in business.”
Merry-Ann’s Diner owner Tony Pomonis said he has leaned on Champaign community members since he was very young.
“I have more skin in this game, in this community, than anyone else,” Pomonis said.
And often, he said, they have leaned on him.
“I have the deepest and widest philanthropic footprint of any other candidate,” he said.
Former council member Vic McIntosh, the fourth candidate for the appointment, was not physically present on Tuesday night. He was on a long-planned family vacation and has been saying for weeks that he would have to miss last night’s session.
He pre-recorded a video statement, in which he thanked council members for the opportunity and said he recognized the weight of the decision they will make on June 19.
Mayor Don Gerard said he appreciates the calls he has gotten from residents endorsing a particular candidate.
All four of the candidates’ applications for the seat are available on the city’s website at ci.champaign.il.us/city-council/.
Here is audio of Tuesday's presentations from WDWS: