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Teacher Announces Bloomington City Council Bid

Patrick Lawler standing downtown
Patrick Lawler
Patrick Lawler, a teacher at Normal Community High School, said he "has been listening to the voices of my students and the community members who are speaking out and demanding change."

UPDATED 2:05 P.M. | A social studies teacher at Normal Community High School plans to run for Bloomington City Council.

Patrick Lawler announced via Twitter on Monday that he wants to “reclaim Ward 5 for all of its residents and continue to build up our community.”

Joni Painter is the incumbent in Ward 5. It covers north-central Bloomingtonin areas near Veterans Parkway.

Lawler, a teacher at NCHS for 14 years, is a first-time candidate. He said he wanted to “get out of his comfort zone” and be an “agent for change.”

“I look forward to working with local organizations like Black Lives Matter to make their demands a reality, and I look forward to seeking ways to reinforce social service providers like the YWCA and Planned Parenthood, both of which are located in Ward 5,” Lawler told WGLT.

Lawler added he wants to work with mental health providers to help them better meet residents’ needs. He also said he’s opposed to business incentives that “strip schools of much needed funding.”

Lawler is an O’Fallon, Ill., native who moved to Bloomington-Normal to attend Illinois State University. He lives in Bloomington with his wife and two children, ages 5 and 8.

Painter has served on the city council since February 2014 when Mayor Tari Renner appointed her to finish the remaining three years of the term. She was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2017.

Painter said following her election she didn't plan to run again, but said Monday she is considering seeking another term as "council dynamics have gotten so interesting lately." She said it may all depend on who all decides to run. 

Lawler becomes the second candidate to declare candidacy for the city council in the April 2021 municipal elections. Kelby Cumpston announced plans to run in Ward 7. Incumbent Scott Black said he doesn’t plan to see re-election.

Council seats in wards 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be on the ballot next spring.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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