PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Andres Diaz, entrepreneur and urban farmer, officially made his 2021 mayoral candidacy known Saturday at North Valley Farmer’s market.
Diaz is a federal accounts manager at Caterpillar Inc. as well as the owner of Urban Acres. He said he has deep roots in the community, having grown up in the North Valley area and graduated from Woodruff High School and Bradley University.
After returning to Peoria from living in Texas and Pennsylvania, he said he was inspired to run for mayor because he believes the city needs something new.
“It’s time for change,” Diaz said.” “We need to bring new life, new blood, new life, and new ideas to the council.”
Diaz said he wants to focus on helping to improve the city’s budget, public services, safety, and opportunities for small businesses.
“I felt compelled to run to make it so we have safer streets, better economic development and support for our small businesses and residents here in Peoria,” Diaz said. “For economic prosperity for everyone in this community.”
He said he also wants to change the structure of city hall after seeing discrimination and speaking with other business owners who’ve faced obstacles trying to start one.
“It sickens me that we have leadership within this city that empowers bigots so we are going to address that,” Diaz said. “I’ve got to change this. Whether it’s for a person who’s black, brown, or white, if our city administration and our city leadership isn’t listening and isn’t responsive, I can understand why we’re not growing.”
He touched on the current social issues surrounding police, saying he’s not in support of defunding the police but he is for police reform and wanting to have resident officers reside in the neighborhoods of those they protect.
Chama St. Louis, who’s also running for mayor said she welcomes Diaz to the campaign trail where all of the candidates can share their ideas and policies for Peoria.
“I think this is what democracy is,” St. Louis said. “Regular everyday residents should be able to run for office. People need options and the opportunity to compare and select candidates who have their best interests in mind.”
Mayor Jim Ardis has not responded for comment.
Diaz also said, if elected, he does not see himself serving more than two terms. He said ideas get stale over time and new perspectives are always needed.
“It’s not about being a lifetime politician for me,” Diaz said. “It’s about setting the direction for Peoria and getting out of the way and letting us succeed.”