Scott Ealy, an Effingham lawyer, announced via social media Friday that he will file to run against Effingham Mayor Jeff Bloemker in the April 2019 municipal election.
Ealy said in an interview that he wants to give a voice to those in Effingham that don't often have a say in the city's decisions. He said his campaign would not be about negativity toward Bloemker.
"I just felt that I have input to offer, ideas to offer and I felt like there were many people in the community who were in that position as well whose ideas weren't necessarily encouraged," Ealy said. "I consider myself a positive ideas person, and that's the kind of campaign I'll run."
Bloemker said Friday that Ealy is a good man and candidate for the position. He said he has known Ealy all his life, and Ealy will provide another choice for Effingham voters.
"He's almost the exact opposite of my candidacy," Bloemker said. "I think he'll provide good choices for Effingham. He comes from a legal standpoint while I come from a management background."
Bloemker was elected mayor in April 2015 and is now in the fourth year of his first term. Bloemker announced in October that he will seek re-election.
Ealy said that blocked railroad crossings are issues he plans to address. He also wants to take a look at the community's use of Lake Sara and ways the city can help to bring in more tax revenue from the lake area.
"This is a key thing, I think. I look forward to exploring the relationship between this community and Lake Sara. This community created Lake Sara. Lake Sara is Effingham's, and I want Effingham to benefit more from Lake Sara. I want to explore the history and the future of Lake Sara as mayor," Ealy said. "There's going to be a big push for things to happen at Lake Sara, and I want the city to be a vital cog in that, and again, I'm not talking about the spending of money."
Ealy said that as an Effingham taxpayer, he understands that raising property taxes is not an option for the city. In addition to looking into the lake area, Ealy said he wants solve the issue of trains stopping and blocking crossings, making morning commutes "long and difficult."
Another part of Ealy's campaign ideas is assisting landlords in the city. He said that because he's represented many landlords, he knows how difficult it is to be a landlord in the city, and as mayor, he would find ways to encourage and support landlords.
Ealy said he would also like to implement a "walk of fame" for Effingham natives that have made a name for themselves or have made impact beyond Effingham, from baseball players to songwriters and muscians to priests. He said this "walk of fame" would tie into his candidacy theme of inclusiveness.
He said while many great accomplishments have already been made in the city, Ealy would like to do more for the community as mayor.
"There are more things we can promote than we do. This is a wonderful community. It's a great place to grow up. There are a lot of people who have worked very hard to give us a wonderful place to live," Ealy said. "I guess one of my themes would be Effingham for everybody. Too often, we don't have everybody be part of solutions and ideas."
Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.