PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For the first time in at least two decades, we see five minorities stepping up to the plate to run for Peoria mayor.
With the current pool of four African Americans, a Hispanic, and a woman candidate, Peoria could have a minority mayor for the first time in history.
Since 1845, 46 white men have held the highest-ranking municipal government seat. Mayor Jim Ardis, who has held Peoria’s mayoral seat for 16 years, announced he will not be seeking re-election last week. The Program Director for 90.7 Strictly Hip-Hop Demarcus Hamilton said witnessing five minority candidates in the Peoria mayoral election is historical.
“We’re way overdue for a woman, we’re way overdue for an African American, we’re way overdue for a minority,” Hamilton said.
Right now Chama St Louis, Chuck Brown, Rita Ali, Andres Diaz, and Couri Thomas are the only candidates vying for the seat.
Political science assistant professor with Bradley University Megan Remmel said electing a minority mayor could close the communication gap between government officials and people of color.
“Symbolically, it is important for voters to see candidates that look like that them. I do think seeing white people run as a candidate over and over again has to be discouraging,” Remmel said.
Neighbors said getting minorities on the ballot, is only half the battle. The only way to ensure their success is to vote. In 2017 only 18 percent of registered voters in Peoria participated in the mayoral election. Sherry Carter-Allen with the NAACP Peoria said people shouldn’t take voting for granted.
“It’s a very pivotal time in history, and our vote is our power. So it is very important that we utilize that power,” Sherry Carter-Allen said.
The Peoria mayoral primary election is in February. Hamilton said if you don’t agree with the current policies, be the change you want to see.
The current pool of candidates is not official. They still have to file their candidacy by Nov. 20.
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