Mike Ingram to run for county board


Joseph Abe-Bell

Mike Ingram, a first-time political candidate and Canopy Club promoter, will run in the Champaign County Board general election in November as the District 6 Democratic candidate.

By Olivia Walshans, Staff Writer

First-time political candidate and promoter at Canopy Club Mike Ingram has been elected as the District 6 Democratic candidate for Champaign County Board in the No vember general election.

Ingram said he was spurred into action after Donald Trump was elected president.

“It felt like it was time to stop talking about stuff and actually do something,” Ingram said.

Although he had friends pushing him to consider filling other offices or have loftier goals and ambitions, Ingram said he felt the Champaign County Board was the place to start.

Ingram was sponsored by organizations such as the Champaign County Young Democrats and two local branches of labor unions: the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

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    Dave Beck, staff representative of AFSCME Council 31, said it backed Ingram because it thought he would support labor in the county. Ingram also aligned with its opinion on the treatment of the Champaign County Nursing Home, a key issue in this election.

    “Mike has said throughout his candidacy, since day one, that he wanted to do whatever we could do to save the nursing home and keep it a county nursing home. That was sort of the primary issue that drove the decision,” Beck said.

    The Champaign County Nursing Home has housed generation upon generation of people in Champaign County, but the home was hit hard by the state budget crisis and fell increasingly into debt, Ingram said. When a referendum came up that would give the Champaign County Board the decision power to sell the nursing home, Ingram said his district highly opposed it.

    “For the very hawkish, fiscal types of people, it is hard to justify why the county shouldn’t sell the nursing home, but it discounts a lot of the good the home does and represents and not just on the part of the people living there but the people who work there,” Ingram said.

    A large part of his campaign was trying to figure out the best way to engage with people, Ingram said. This involved going door-to-door and talking with people in his district, and campaigning across social media.

    Ingram said there were a couple times when the campaign became more negative than he expected. Various things took him by surprise: a disappearing yard sign, posts saying he can’t be trusted and mail sent to voters by one of his sponsors in support of him that contains negative quotes from one of his opponents.

    “It wasn’t from me, but it still had my name on it because they were saying, ‘Vote this in as an alternate.’ I didn’t know how to feel about that,” Ingram said.

    In November, Ingram will be going up against Republican candidate Richard J. Montgomery, another first-time candidate.

    Republicans in District 6 do not always put forth a candidate for the County Board election, so Montgomery said he decided to run to give people more options during the general election and to hold elected officials and politicians more accountable.

    “I always had the belief that the voter should have the option for two or more candidates, so I decided I would offer them a choice in this election,” Montgomery said.

    Although Montgomery originally ran to give people another option, he said he became more interested in actually taking the position as his campaign progressed. He said he wants to improve and modernize the jail, and look into a mental health facility once funding is freed.

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