RANTOUL — The coronavirus pandemic has shut down, for now, an effort by a Rantoul group to have a question on term limits placed on the April 6 ballot.
Debbra Sweat, speaking on behalf of the Rantoul Term Limits Group, said people are reluctant to come to the door or handle items necessary to sign a petition.
“We tried to use personal contacts, and ... people were hesitant about folks coming to the door. Some of us were hesitant to get out,” Sweat said.
She also cited the number of COVID-19 cases rising in recent weeks in Champaign County.
The group had until Mondayto secure enough signatures (318) to have the question placed on the ballot. As a result, the earliest the question could be posed locally will be November 2022.
The question would have asked residents if those elected to the offices of mayor, village trustee and village clerk in Rantoul should be limited to no more than two four-year terms in the same office.
The proposal, if it had been approved, would not have taken effect for eight years — May 1, 2029.
Earlier, the group indicated the term-limit effort was being undertaken because it is trying to limit special interests “because that’s what’s driving Rantoul, and just some of the things that are happening ... we’re not getting answers to questions.”
In a press release, the group said the idea of term limits has been voiced for Congress, state legislatures “and even at the municipal level.”
“Term limits at the municipal level will provide the opportunity for constituents to become more engaged in the leadership of a community by bringing new ideas and perspectives,” it said.
The group is also toying with the idea of asking voters whether municipal candidates should indicate their party. At present, their party of affiliation is not listed.
“It’s being discussed,” Sweat said. “If we flip enough board seats in April, we’re hoping enough board members will be open to discussing this.”
Voters in April will be casting ballots on mayor, village board and village clerk. It will be the first election in which board candidates will run according to the district in which they reside rather than at large.
For mayor, incumbent Chuck Smith is being challenged for re-election by Trustee Gary Wilson and newcomer Kevin Williams.
Running for village clerk is Janet Grey, who is village executive assistant and serves as deputy village clerk. Mike Graham opted not to seek re-election.
Trustee candidates include:
- District 1 — Newcomers Loise Haines and Irene Weathersby
- District 2 — Newcomers Nicole Rabbers, Regina Crider and Herm Fogal
- District 3 — Newcomers Donald Robertson and John Killeen
- District 4 — Incumbent Sherry Johnson
- District 5 — Incumbent Samuel Hall III and newcomer Wendy Hundley
- District 6 — Newcomer Char Mitchell and incumbents Terry Workman and Mark Wilkerson.