Smile Politely

Moving Champaign in the right direction together

Over the past three years we have worked diligently together to guide the City of Champaign in the right direction. The effort has been noticed, as across the country our booming micro-urban city has garnered praise and acclaim:

Additionally, Champaign has been noted for its successes in sustainability — from energy conservation to earning “Bike Friendly” status — as well as cited as one of the most dynamic tourist destinations. We host events ranging from Ebertfest to the Illinois Marathon, Bloomington Gold Corvette Convention, Pygmalion Music Festival, Blues Brews & BBQ and a myriad of other festivals and celebrations. Friday Night Live turns every weekend into a music, arts and culture showcase throughout downtown and Champaign City Partnership continues to produce and promote events in Midtown and Campustown. 
All of these rankings have come out in just the past six months and are the result of our hard work over the past three years. The credit for our nationally recognized success goes to the smart, innovative, and hardworking residents of Champaign. Our city has been able to work within the community to create a progressive agenda to build on our successes, and I’m proud to be a part of that effort. I’m going to continue to work with everyone in the community who is ready to keep us moving in the right direction.
Even with all this work to do, talk of the mayor’s race a year away has already begun. My main priority is keeping Champaign on the right track; not raising campaign funds. It is far more important to me to learn what Champaign residents think of how the city has fared since I became mayor. To help me solicit citizen feedback, a group of college students recently conducted an informal poll of Champaign citizens who voted in the last election for mayor. 
The results were good news for Champaign: over 50% of the voters surveyed thought the city of Champaign was moving in the right direction. Moreover, only 10% disagreed. Also, a survey at Busey Bank’s annual economic seminar recently showed the 600 attendees, mostly business people, were vastly more optimistic about our local economy than the national economic outlook.
When compared to some truly depressing polls released this year about Illinois, the optimism in Champaign is exceptionally exciting. For comparison, one poll found that 62% of people in Illinois think that corruption is common in local city government, another that 50% of people want to move out of Illinois, and even another that 25% of people living in Illinois think they live in the worst state in the entire country. Illinois citizens were among the most negative nationwide in these polls, but it is good to know that not everyone in Illinois is so pessimistic.
It’s no surprise that the optimism in our local economy is an outlier compared to the rest of the state. Over the past three years we have continued to progress with something very special in our city. While Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, we have created an economic environment in the city of Champaign to achieve the lowest unemployment rate of any city in our entire region.
I am more interested in the future of Champaign than my own political future. This is the reason I chose public service. Champaign deserves nothing less. I am honored the community granted me the opportunity to serve and represent the city I love and, while we are also having fun, I take the job seriously and dedicate my efforts to promoting Champaign. I also believe Champaign needs an actively involved mayor. So, while others are free to focus on who will be mayor, I choose to focus on being mayor.
Let us continue to work hard together to keep Champaign moving in the right direction.

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