“I’m flabbergasted now because that’s the first time I’ve ever even run for office,” Pena said.
Like Hoffman, Pena also said he believes his involvement in the church and community helped him move ahead to the fall. Pena said he’s been involved in the church for more than 20 years in all but has been working there full-time for more than a decade.
“This community has treated my family well since I was little,” Pena said.
Because two seats were open, the two Republicans receiving the most votes move to the general election in November against Kerns, who was unopposed in the primary.
Candidates said several issues were important to the election, including the need for the city to upgrade and maintain its infrastructure, while making sure rates for residents remain affordable. Among other issues, the city is considering plans to build a new water treatment facility, which city officials have said is necessary because the current facility is aging and nearing its capacity.
This year’s fall election will determine who will sit on the eight-member city council next year. The council is responsible for drafting legislation and bringing concerns from residents to the city’s administration.
Gil Weithman, a Republican, ran unopposed in the race for Champaign County Municipal Court Judge. In the city council’s first ward, Eugene Fields, Jr. also faced no competition. Dwight Paul, also a Republican, ran unopposed for a seat in the city council’s third ward.