Pekin residents will decide on a new mayor and three new seats on the city council come April. A candidate forum sponsored by the 9/12 Project gave Pekin citizens a chance to meet their new future city leaders.
Citizens of Pekin and supporters of the candidates filled a conference room at the city's public library Tuesday night to voice their concerns and receive feedback from the political hopefuls. Four candidates are running to fill the position currently held by Pekin's Mayor, Rusty Dunn.
Write-in candidate Steve Brown had a background in economic development before becoming general manager of the Avanti's Dome in Pekin. He says he has an honest approach to his run for Mayor.
"I understand with my background that it's difficult to get new jobs and businesses and it can be done, but I'm not going to make promises for the sake of being elected, so people will see me as an honest person, down to Earth." said Brown.
Tom Blanchard says serving six years on Pekin's City Council makes him the most trusted by the public. He feels it's most important to provide basic services to the city and public safety, like police and fire.
Blanchard said, "No businesses, big or small, will come to Pekin if we don't provide those first. Those are the central basic services that the public expects and it deserves from us. And keeping our taxes down, of course."
Laurie Barra also serves on Pekin's City Council. She has ten years of experience in the city's government. She says her main goals as mayor would be choosing a new City Manager and looking at economic development.
"And I don't mean so much retail as I mean heavy industrial. We have a river way business park that's expanding so we have areas down there that we could try to find, hopefully. And try to find some businesses to come in to Pekin, some industries." said Barra.
If elected, write-in candidate, Roger Greer, will not be eligible to serve. Though he was a long time resident of Pekin, he lived outside of the city limits within the year leading up to this election come April 5th.