Voters weigh in on mayoral primary


URBANA — The Democratic mayoral primary is Tuesday. The Champaign County clerk said he only expects a few thousand to turn out, but it seems like everyone in town is talking about it.

Many voters have a lot to say this time around. Voters know what changes they’d like to see.

Laurel Prussing, incumbent mayor. Diane Marlin, city alderwoman. Evelyn Underwood, associate pastor.

If you live in Urbana, you probably already know these are the three women trying to win your vote in the primary and you might have already heard what they have to say.

Whoever wins the race will serve more than 40,000 people. So what do some of them have to say about the issues?

“I think that around here, it would be nice to see a little bit more business-friendly environment,” said Farah Abiakar.

Abiakar went to UI and moved back to Urbana about a year ago. She said a more vibrant business scene will help Urbana compete with Champaign.

It’s something fellow Illini Octavius Jackson would also like to see.

“For us to go shopping, we’ve got to get on the bus and go all the way to Champaign,” said Jackson, “because a lot of people don’t have cars. So they’re not mobile to be able to get in the car and go to Champaign and shop.”

He often walks or takes the bus to get around.

The same goes for Rebecca Molloy, who just moved here from New York.

“It’s very walk-able from where we are community,” said Molloy. “We feel like it’s a community that has the potential for us to age very vibrantly in.”

She said her biggest concern is maintaining sidewalks and the bus system. Two things, she said, would make the city even more senior-friendly.

For these services and others, Robin Shealy said he would like to see a mayor who can raise the dollars for it.

“The tax issue with Carle, and the businesses, have to do with a very solid and sustainable tax base that will give Urbana the services it wants,” said Shealy.

They all have different views who to vote for and what’s troubling Urbana the most, but they all agree on one thing: they love living in Urbana.

People say they believe the main issues are business growth, the Carle property tax lawsuit, the hotel/motel tax question and increasing police staff.

Anyone living in Urbana can vote for one of the three Democratic candidates, regardless of party affiliation.

Whoever wins the Democratic seat will be competing against Rex Bradfield, the only Republican candidate.

The election is April 4.

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