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CHAMPAIGN — In her bid for a second term, Urbana Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin will be up against a city alderman and a former basketball star.

Ward 5 Alderman Dennis Roberts, who is stepping down after his current term ends in May, and Verdell Jones III, a Champaign Central basketball player who played at Indiana and internationally, both filed Monday to run for mayor.

Yinxi (Andy) Ma has also filed to run for Urbana mayor.

Roberts, who has served on the council for 16 years, said some residents in his neighborhood encouraged him to run for mayor.

“I think I have a different take on the direction the town might want to explore, maybe just by my personal interests,” he said. “I’m very interested in the human face of Urbana, and its vitality.”

All four filed as Democrats and will face off in the Feb. 23 primaries. The general election is scheduled for April 6, and Monday was the last day for candidates to file petitions for the spring elections.

Here’s a look at who else has filed:


In District 1, councilwoman Clarissa Nickerson Fourman filed to run Monday after initially planning not to.

She’ll face Davion Williams and Azark Cobbs.

“I was not going to run because I’m sick of politics, and my mouth and politics don’t necessarily go together,” Fourman said. “But a group of citizens passed around petitions and asked me to run.”

Fourman said she’ll focus her campaign on improving the police department and getting more help for mothers mourning the loss of their children to gunfire.

“I am looking very much forward to having conversations about the police department and making changes there,” she said.

In District 2, incumbent Alicia Beck is running unopposed.

To replace outgoing District 3 councilwoman Angie Brix, attorney Matt Sullard, personal trainer Daniel Iniguez and activist Justin Michael Hendrix have filed to run.

In a news release, Iniguez said he had lined up the endorsements of Brix, Mayor Deb Feinen and state Sen. Scott Bennett.

“My experience as a small business owner in managing the challenge of fewer resources and an ever-changing business model during COVID-19 have taught me to find creative solutions to challenges and to be prepared to pivot quickly,” he said. “These attributes will serve me well on council.”

Hendrix, a regular public commenter at council meetings who says people refer to him as the “People’s Mayor,” said he would work to amplify the voices in his district.

“I have provided food, clothing and health precautions to our communities, even personal necessities to our most vulnerable during the pandemic,” Hendrix said in a statement. “Community engagement happens in the streets, and my work speaks for itself.”

In District 4, incumbent Greg Stock will run against Michael Foellmer, who ran for school board last year.

In District 5, Vanna Pianfetti is running unopposed for a second term.

Paul Faraci is running unopposed for township assessor, and activist Rita Conerly is challenging incumbent Township Supervisor Andy Quarnstrom.


In Ward 1, incumbent Maryalice Wu will face Jake Fava in the primary, with the winner meeting Libertarian Adam Rusch in the general election.

Three Democrats filed for the currently vacant Ward 2 position: Christopher Evans, Erik Sacks and Christopher Hansen.

Ward 3 incumbent Shirese Hursey will face fellow Democrat Deborah Liu in the primary.

Democrat Jaya Kolisetty will be up against Republican Mike Kobel this spring to represent Ward 4.

Kolisetty previously worked at Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Service and is currently the associate director of the Women’s Resources Center at the University of Illinois.

“I am running for city council because I believe that Ward 4 deserves a responsive and experienced advocate to represent the ward’s diverse needs as we work to build a more supportive and inclusive community,” she said.

Democrats Meghan McDonald, a local organizer, and Chaundra Bishop, who just narrowly lost in her race to be county coroner, are running to replace Roberts in Ward 5.

William Colbrook, who was appointed to represent Ward 6 in March, filed as a Republican and will face Democrat Grace Wilken.

And in Ward 7, Democratic incumbent Jared Miller will be running against James Quisenberry in the primary.

Quisenberry is the director of technology for the UI’s Student Affairs office and served on the county board from 2010-16.

For city clerk, current appointee Phyllis Clark will run against Titianna Ammons, who was just elected to the county board. Both are Democrats.

Cunningham Township Supervisor Danielle Chynoweth and Assessor Wayne Williams are both running unopposed for another term.

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