Three Independent candidates to host town hall

Staff report

Three Independent candidates for city office announced they will host an “Education & Careers Town Hall” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Lincoln & Main Gastropub in Urbana.

The candidates – Cassie Cress and Teresa Beverly (running for city council) and Justin T. Weller (running for mayor) – are scheduled to share their common campaign platform and take questions from the public.

Lance Jackson, a local educator of more than 30 years and former teacher at Urbana City Schools, is scheduled to moderate the event.

“This is our opportunity as a community to engage with the candidates and learn more about their plan for education in our city,” Jackson says in a prepared statement provided by Weller. “I started working with Mr. Weller on this platform over 18 months ago when he shared with me that education would be a top priority. I hope that anyone who has wanted to see this community invest more wisely in our youth will attend.”

In addition to the education policy, organizers said the town hall will address the Independent candidate team’s proposed career placement program. According to the candidate team, education and careers go hand in hand.

“We’re encouraging everyone who’s interested in a better future for Urbana and those that want to learn more about our platform to join us at this town hall,” Weller said.

Weller filed as an Independent to oppose Mayor Bill Bean, a Republican, in the Nov. 5 election.

Cress filed as an Independent to oppose at-large council member Pat Thackery, a Republican.

Last month, the city council appointed Jacob McKee, a Democrat, to temporarily fill the at-large council seat vacated by Tony Pena, who moved from the area. Candidates have until Aug. 7 to file for their names to be on the Nov. 5 ballot as candidates for the seat. The term is up at the end of 2021.

McKee has filed for the seat, as has Democrat Dick Kerns and Beverly, an Independent.

Staff report