Latest: 10:00 pm, 1/30/17, Monday
URBANA — Dozens packed the city building for a Democratic mayoral candidates’ forum. Incumbent Mayor Laurel Prussing, Alderwoman Diane Marlin, and Reverend Evelyn Underwood are running.
Almost half the audience couldn’t fit in the room, and were told to remain outside because of the fire code. As the rules of engagement were explained to the candidates, people were peering through glass after they were told there was no room for them.
Outside, former mayoral candidate Leslie Stratton waited with the rest. She ran unsuccessfully four years ago.
“Some of the things that were issues in the last campaign are still unresolved,” said Stratton.
A moderator read questions from the audience. When asked what they believed Urbana’s biggest issues were, the candidates all agreed economic development, especially downtown, and public safety should be priorities. Underwood says her decades of community service make her an agent for change.
“A welcoming, vibrant, habitable city, enhancing public safety, with an excellent quality of life,” said Underwood.
Marlin says it’s time for a change, and wants to focus on reaching out to community investors and developers to make it happen.
“Urbana lags behind in neighborhood neighboring communities in population growth and development projects,” said Marlin. “There have been no new in private construction projects in downtown Urbana for the last 12 years.”
Prussing says she’s built a record of solving problems and breaking barriers, citing a reduction in violent crime, savings on insurance, and no city employee layoffs during her terms.
“We achieved this through excellent teamwork,” said Prussing, “Despite a recession, the loss of 11% of our assessed value when hospitals stopped paying taxes, and the lack of a state budget.”
The Democratic primary is February 28. Whichever candidate wins will run against Rex Bradfield, the only Republican running.
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Update: 4:00 pm, 1/30/17, Monday
URBANA — Monday night, the three Democratic candidates for mayor will appear at a forum.
Incumbent Mayor Laurel Prussing, Alderwoman Diane Marlin and Reverend Evelyn Underwood will have a moderated discussion.
The Democratic primary election is at the end of February. The winner is expected to run against Rex Bradfield, the only Republican running.
Monday’s forum is in the city council chambers at 7 pm.
Original: 4:00 pm, 1/9/17, Monday
URBANA — The Champaign County Young Democrats are hosting the first mayoral debate this month.
Mayor Laurel Prussing and Alderwoman Diane Marlin have both said they will attend.
The third candidate, Reverend Evelyn Burnett Underwood, has been invited, but has not confirmed whether she’ll participate.
The debate is open to the public. The Democratic primary election for Urbana mayor is February 28.