Deb Feinen sworn in as new mayor of Champaign

By The Daily Illini Staff

Deb Feinen was sworn in as mayor of Champaign on Tuesday, May 5. She is the second female mayor in the city’s history.

Feinen won the mayoral election with 41 percent of the votes in the April 7 elections. She previously served as an at-large city council member and a commissioner and chair of the Regional Planning Commission.

Feinen works as a lawyer in Champaign, but hopes to find balance between her two jobs.

One of Feinen’s focuses for Champaign is expanding the broadband network. She also said she wants to work with minority and small business owners to promote the city’s economic development.

Feinen said one of her major goals is to put a focus on the broadband infrastructure and its potential for the city.

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“We have a $25 million fiber infrastructure in the ground in Champaign and I really want to use that for economic development and educational opportunities,” said Feinen.

She cites another main goal as being an available and approachable mayor and says she welcomes student input.

At-large Champaign City Councilman Tom Bruno, who said he remained neutral throughout the campaign for mayor, said he is optimistic about what Feinen will bring to the table. Feinen sat as a council member alongside Bruno prior to her swearing-in today.

“Deb has always been a strong advocate for personal freedom, social justice, LGBT issues, environmental issues, she’s a fiscal conservative, she and I may differ a little bit on that,” said Bruno. “But she’s a principled person and open-minded and she works hard and that’s all we can ever ask of our fellow council members.”

Bruno also said he would be accompanying Feinen on a trip to Washington, D.C. on Monday for several days to lobby the U.S. congressional delegation and advocate for Champaign with federal legislators. They will visit with Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. Dick Durbin as well as Rep. Rodney Davis and agency heads to push for transportation funding, for high-speed rail and support of the Amtrak rail system.