McLean County Board member Carlo Robustelli, a Bloomington Democrat, has announced he won’t be seeking a third term next year, while a political newcomer has announced his campaign for the seat.
“With a deep bench of energized, highly qualified progressives, I feel now is the best time to announce my intentions, and I look forward to supporting a fellow resident of District 8 for election to the County Board,” Robustelli said on Facebook.
Robustelli said he's encouraged to see a new wave of citizens locally and nationally become more involved in government.
"I definitely think things have changed over the last few years, I think for the better," he said. "More people are engaged, more people are involved, more people are holding government accountable and the expectations — which are appropriate — have been raised."
Robustelli credited the County Board with investing in infrastructure and fighting to retain, recruit and grow jobs, including through wind and solar technology, and expanding access to community-based services “for our most vulnerable citizens.”
He added McLean County government has improved transparency and become more accessible to the public by moving meeting times and making public documents available online.
Robustelli added he's proud of the work the County Board has done in navigating through Illinois' two-year budget impasse and state funding cuts.
"This has been a really difficult six years," he said. "The state budget quagmire was really painful. It was painful for the community, it was painful for our state, it was bad for our economy and people suffered."
Robustelli, the assistant vice president for advancement at Illinois Wesleyan University, was appointed to the board in 2013. He won election in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016.
He said he never intended to serve on the County Board for an indefinite amount of time.
"I think that's the best thing that anybody who is in a leadership role or in a public office can do is provide new opportunities for new perspectives and new voices," Robustelli said.
Robustelli serves as vice chairman of the County Board’s health committee. He also serves on the justice and finances committees and the legislative subcommittee.
Hours after Robustelli announced he wasn't running again, a Republican declared his candidacy for the seat. Illinois Wesleyan University senior Jordan Baker is seeking public office for the first time at age 20.
“That’s not lost on me, but everyone has to have a beginning and I think talking with a lot of people and keeping an ear to the ground and listening to people will provide a great way to put together a great set of proposals,” Baker said.
It’s official! I’m running for the McLean County Board in District 8!
Follow us on Facebook at “Baker for McLean County Board” and Instagram at “bakercb8” pic.twitter.com/HB0F5tXhva
— Jordan Baker (@bakercb8) September 18, 2019
Baker is a political science major who grew up in Georgia and moved to Bloomington in August 2017.
“You could live here for 20 years or two years, but if you talk to all the people in your constituency, I believe that will be the most effective way of gauging what needs to be done.”
Baker said he's running his campaign on transparency with constituents and he plans to face a “well-funded Democratic opponent” next year.
District 8 includes much of Bloomington and some rural areas to the west.
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