Ammons calls for boosting voter outreach after winning clerk's post

Ammons calls for boosting voter outreach after winning clerk's post

URBANA — Four years ago, local voters made Carol Ammons the first African-American from Champaign County to serve in the state Legislature.

On Tuesday night, it was husband Aaron's turn to make county history.

The Democratic Urbana alderman was elected Champaign County clerk Tuesday night, becoming the first African-American to hold that office. He defeated Republican Matt Grandone for a position held by Grandone's boss, Gordy Hulten.

Discussion about the race in its final weeks was as much about a series of controversial radio spots paid for by a 75-year-old Champaign resident as it was about any issue.

Lawrence Williams' anti-Ammons ads, broadcast on News-Gazette Media's WDWS radio, helped propel Ammons to victory, the winner insisted Tuesday night.

"I do believe that this is a union town, and this is a working class community," Ammons said while attending a Democratic watch party at the Canopy Club. "And I think working class people are going to rally around the person who's standing up for working people. So I think the attack was an attempt to be belittling, but in our community, it may have created momentum."

As county clerk, Ammons has said he will insist on a pay freeze for countywide elected officials.

Among his other vows: to implement a citizen commission to oversee elections when the county clerk is on the ballot; to devote $5,000 of his salary each year to voter education and outreach; and to continue his opposition to Illinois' participation in Cross Check, what he called a "voter-suppression program."

Ammons said his first order of business will be to sit down with Hulten to talk about the transition.

"My intention is also to reach out and meet with the staff and talk about the transition and make sure we're all on the same page," Ammons said.

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Tags (1):election 2018