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Election Day is this Tuesday, April 5th, and we have some very important races -- and some very good candidates -- to vote for. For those of you living in the City of Champaign, the Unit 4 school district, and the Parkland College district, here are my endorsements for some of the candidates running in those races....

City of Champaign:

Mayor - The voters of Champaign have really lucked out this year. Not only does Don Gerard provide us with a choice for who we want to be the top visionary of our city, but he provides us with a great choice. Don is the real deal. He is a hometown boy who cares deeply about the city in which he lives, and doesn't bring a lot of political baggage with him. Some have criticized his lack of prior involvement in certain boards, councils or clubs before running for mayor, but I see that as a plus. Folks seem to pine for 'regular folk' to run for office, and to be represented by someone who is 'real.' They like to flay 'career politicians.' Well, folks, here's your chance to have the change you've been wanting. Don is your average, concerned citizen who decided to take-up the daunting task of running for the highest office in the city that he lives in and loves. And Don has been working hard to earn your vote. If you check out his web site, you can read all about him. Don Gerard is smart, articulate, willing to listen to any and all ideas, is respectful (whether he agrees with you or not), has a lot of great ideas for the future of the city, works hard, and is an all-around dynamic individual. You can't go wrong in voting for him as your next mayor.

City Council District 5 - There are three candidates running (all as write-ins) to fill-out the remaining two years on the four-year City of Champaign District 5 Council seat. All of them appear to be good people, but if you live and vote in District 5, I hope you will write-in Paul Faraci. Paul has deep roots in this community, and has both business and political experience that would make him an incredibly savvy fit for the Champaign City Council. Paul is a proven leader, as well as being a nice, down-to-earth guy. You can't go wrong with him. Check out Paul's web site for more information.

Parkland College Board of Trustees: *

Greg Knott is an old colleague of mine. We served together on the Champaign County Board from 2006-2010, although Greg had served on the board since 2000. It's true that Greg (a Republican) and I (a Democrat) didn't agree on a great many things. But that isn't the purpose of serving on a board. The purpose is to work together for the best possible outcome for the constituents you serve, and Greg is tops at doing that. Together with (Democrat) Brendan McGinty, Greg worked on creating a 10-Point-Plan that outlined concrete ideas for the future of Champaign County and the county board. Some of the ideas worked, some of them didn't, but the point is that Greg took the responsibility and the initiative for some forward thinking. Furthermore, while often times being on opposite sides of the discussion with Greg, he and I were able to maintain a cordial, respectful relationship, and most folks can understand how key that is in working together in any type of endeavor in order to get things done. A great community college deserves great leadership, and I've no doubt whatsoever that Greg Knott will bring his fresh ideas and willingness to compromise to the Parkland College Board of Trustees.

Unit 4 School District: **

Jamar Brown is a father, husband, member of the City of Champaign Human Relations Commission, Parkland College student, University of Illinois employee and a product of Unit 4 schools. He's involved with his church and with the community. Jamar is busy guy, but he's willing to take on another role, and the voters of Unit 4 school district would be fortunate to have this sharp, energetic young man to help  work with the administrators, teachers and children of Unit 4.

These are my endorsements for some of the local races that voters have to choose from on April 5th. I don't pretend to be a great sage, nor that my opinion is any better than someone else's who is equally informed. My first desire is that you actually vote. If, however, you were to keep in mind any of the information I've just imparted, well, that would be great!

NOTE: Greg Knott and Jamar Brown have candidate pages on Facebook, should you have access to that site and wish to learn more about them.

*  There are 7 people running for three seats for the Parkland Board of Trustees race. I haven't decided to whom my other two votes will go.

** There are 5 candidates running for four seats for Unit 4 school district. I have also not decided to whom my other votes will go.


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