Feinen elected as Champaign mayor

Deborah Frank Feinen smiles as she walks into the room to be greeted by her supporters and interviewed by the media at the Brookens Center on Tuesday.

By Caeli Cleary

One hour and 17 minutes after tabulation began, Deborah Frank Feinen joined her crowd of supporters as she was announced the new mayor of Champaign.

Feinen won the mayoral race Tuesday with 41 percent of the votes and beat incumbent Don Gerard by 1,167 votes.

Feinen led the race with 4,967 votes, as Gerard followed with 3,800 votes. Joe Petry and Karen Foster followed with 2,243 and 1,112 votes, respectively.

Feinen’s campaign focused on decreasing gun violence by working with the police department. She also pushed for more economic development of the city’s broadband infrastructure.

“I really think it can be the economic driver for the city of Champaign, but also an educational benefit for the city,” Feinen said. “We’ll have more jobs coming in because of it.”

Craig Goad, Campus Recreation employee, said Feinen’s campaign and supporters spent Tuesday knocking on doors, making phone calls and waving signs.

Gordy Hulten, Champaign County clerk, said student turnout was significantly lower than expected, with only 57 votes cast at the Illini Union, as last calculated by the clerk’s office.

Goad said he has never been involved in such a hard working campaign. He said he believes Feinen will help downtown businesses and help to develop the local economy.

“I think she is going to grow downtown businesses, and she is fiscally responsible,” Goad said.” She has a good understanding of inclusiveness within the city.”

In a previous interview with the Daily Illini, Feinen said she also wants to work with the University, Parkland College, the city of Urbana and the Champaign Park District.

Mary Auth, Champaign resident, said she also expects to see more economic development.

“She’s one person who in particular listens and listens hard,” Auth said.

Feinen formerly served as an at-large member of the Champaign City Council and a commissioner and chair of the Regional Planning Commission.

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