PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Mayor Jim Ardis has been around the horseshoe since 1999, first as a councilman at large, then stepping into his first mayoral term in 2005.
Last Wednesday, Mayor Ardis announced he won’t be seeking re-election.
We spoke with four of the five current mayoral candidates Sunday, Andres Diaz and Charles Brown both share words of appreciation for the sitting mayor, for taking on a tough role.
“It’s not an easy task, so the fact that he has stuck around and given his life to this community is a blessing,” said Diaz.
“Being a mayor I’d imagine is not an easy task, you’re gonna make some people happy, other people disappointed, so I do commend him for that,” said Brown.
Candidate Chama St. Louis says Ardis has served Peoria for many years, and now it’s time for a change.
“He has been around the horseshoe and the council for 22 years, so I think it was a good idea for him not to seek re-election,” said St. Louis.
Councilwoman Rita Ali, also in the ring for the mayor’s seat, says she was not surprised by Ardis’ announcement, mentioning the mayor accepting a full-time position with OSF HealthCare as a strategic philanthropic officer.
“In my opinion it would be very difficult, almost impossible, to try and do that big job, and the mayors big job at the same time,” said Ali.
Ali hoping the next mayor is someone who can unite the people of Peoria, and make it a desirable option for new businesses.
“We have to be attractive to more industries to bring them to our community,” said Ali.
Diaz says, the next mayor should hold city leaders accountable, and motivate people to bring about change.
“Out there hitting the pavement, for the people, driving change, and when they’re not driving change, cheerleading those that are taking the mantle,” said Diaz.
St. Louis, pushing for the empowerment of neighbors.
“I would like to see marginalized groups and those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods empowered,” said St. Louis.
Each candidate, vying for the seat, and even if they don’t win, hoping the person who claims the role next will push the city forward.
“That person is going to have to be a great coach, unity I think is very critical,” said Brown.
Until the election, current mayor Jim Ardis will hold the seat through may of 2021.
WMBD reached out to Couri Thomas and his campaign but did not hear back.
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