You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Robbery suspect accused of assaulting elderly man

Four Republicans seek council seats

Next Urbana leaders face aging infrastructure problems.

Four Republicans are seeking two at-large seats on Urbana’s city council, making it the only contested candidate race in Champaign or Clark counties this spring.

The race pits two incumbents against two newcomers, and it will decide who will help create legislation and serve as a representative for city residents on the eight-member council. Council members serve four-year terms.

Republicans in the May 7 primary race include incumbents Robert Thorpe and Doug Hoffman and challengers Tony Pena and Richard McCain. The two candidates with the most votes will move forward to the fall general election. Richard C. Kerns, a Democrat, is unopposed on his party’s ticket and will also move forward to the fall election.

Thorpe, who has served on the council for more than a decade, said his experience will help him serve as an effective council member. He said the city faces challenges in maintaining and upgrading infrastructure, and he said he will be able to work effectively with the city’s administration to help several projects move forward.

“I’ve been there long enough to get the experience,” Thorpe said. “I just think I’m the best candidate.”

Thorpe moved to Urbana in the early 1970s and initially ran for city council after a friend recommended he seek a seat because of his business experience.

“The administration is doing a fine job,” Thorpe said. “All we’ve got to do is support them.”

Hoffman, also an incumbent, said he believes his experience will help him as well. He was appointed to his seat on the council in February last year and said there is a learning curve to understanding the issues facing the city. Hoffman described the council’s responsibilities as serving as a watchdog for city spending and serving as a bridge between city residents and city administrators.

“Most people care but don’t have the time to devote to the nitty gritty of city administration,” Hoffman said.

One of the city’s biggest challenges in the next few years, he said, will be to upgrade and maintain more than 70 miles of water and sewer lines in the city, while making sure the costs remain manageable for residents.

“We’ve got a lot of aging infrastructure, and while the city is maintaining and fixing it, it’s become costly,” Hoffman said.

McCain said his experience working for the city for 40 years before retiring will give him insight into the issues he will face as a council member. McCain previously ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007, but said his experience dealing with budgets and his knowledge of the city would make him a good fit for the council.

McCain said working with city administrators and other council members to maintain and upgrade the city’s infrastructure will be a significant challenge he’d like to work on if elected.

Pena, a youth and children’s pastor at the River of Life Christian Center in Urbana, is running for office for the first time. Pena said his primary responsibilities as a council member will be to work with other council members to appropriate funds for the city to and gather community input for issues that affect residents.

Along with an aging infrastructure, Pena said council members should work to make sure there are opportunities for younger residents to find work and stay in Urbana.

“Employment for our community is essential,” Pena said. “Urbana has a lot of young talent that we should try to keep working within our community.”

The two Republican winners in May will move forward to face Kerns in the fall election.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Bethany’s story: Why did 11-year-old Champaign Co. girl kill herself?
Bethany’s story: Why did 11-year-old Champaign Co. girl kill herself?
Census: Clark and Champaign cities losing population
Census: Clark and Champaign cities losing population
The Weather Channel confronts Breitbart's claims that global warming isn't real
The Weather Channel confronts Breitbart's claims that global warming isn't real
The Weather Channel has confronted news, opinion and commentary website, after the conservative site used one of The Weather Channel's reports to suggest that climate change isn't real.
Police: Accused Georgia cop killer is dead
Police: Accused Georgia cop killer is dead
The man accused of shooting two Georgia police officers on Wednesday, killing one, has died, authorities confirmed one day after the fatal shooting near Georgia Southwestern State University.
‘Evil as can be’: Jurors hear emotional survivor testimony in Dylann Roof church shooting trial
‘Evil as can be’: Jurors hear emotional survivor testimony in Dylann Roof church shooting trial
The victims of a 2015 mass shooting at a historic South Carolina church had their eyes closed in prayer when they were shot, jurors learned Wednesday during an emotionally charged first day of testimony in the federal murder trial of Dylann Roof.
More Stories