Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mayor Jim Ardis kicks off his re-election campaign

Over 100 supporters of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis convened Wednesday evening at Weaver Ridge in a huge show of support for Jim's re-election. Many are battle-weary from November elections, but it was obvious that there are still plenty who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to campaigning for one of our most popular mayors since sliced bread. Below is Mayor Ardis with State Representative David Leitch, and Congressman Ray Lahood who both turned out for the event. Congressman-elect Aaron Schock was out of town for Legislative training, but I feel confidant in saying he was wholeheartedly present in spirit.

The crowd was an eclectic mix. Democrats and Republicans, incumbents and candidates were all schmoozing and making nice. The shared commonality was of course, an appreciation for what Mayor Ardis and his council have brought to the table over the past four years -a more cohesive and approachable government, decreased crime rates, and an overall enhancement of the image of Peoria.

Being the pre-election season, various petitions to get on the ballot were being circulated like crazy. Candidates for Patrick Nichting's 5th Council seat were present and working the room. Below is Douglas P. Crew, Governmental Affairs Manager for Caterpillar, running for Nichting's seat. Nice man, cute smile, firm handshake. Two thumbs up! I met his opponent too but it was later in the evening where drinks were flowing freely and well, I just can't remember his name. Nice guy. Will report back later.

Below are two of my favorite Dems, 4th District council member William Spears, and Peoria County Circuit Clerk Robert Spears. You simply have not lived until you have been to one of Bobby's 3rd of July backyard BBQ's. Bobby is pure rompin, stompin fun all the time, and generous to a fault. He is also a great single parent to his three beautiful daughters. So many of us recall the beautiful spirit of their mother, the late Regina Spears, who will always reside warmly in my heart.

One of my most fondly recalled conversations of the evening was one I had with Peoria County Board of Review Chairman Gary Shadid. Gary and I have squared off a time or two, but I think the world of him and his family, and we both understand and respect the other's task. Mine is to help keep real estate assessments fair and accurate and his is to... on second thought, guess you'll have to ask him. Ha ha.. just kidding. Sort of. Gary is running for City Treasurer against opponent Patrick Nichting. I think Gary would fill that position with competency, honesty and integrity. What more could you want from a treasurer?

All in all it was a pretty tame, laid back event, just the way Ardis likes things. Later in the evening on the drive home, John (my dh) was reminiscing about his old "Lucky Lady" days, where he worked alongside Jim as a bartender and DJ for a few years. John holds the entire Ardis family in the highest regard, and feels they were brought up with wholesome, traditional values in their shared Columbia Terrace neighborhood. John was particularly close with Jim's sister, the late Ann Ardis Centers, who answered the call from our Lord just a few months ago after a long battle with cancer.

John and I plan to work extra hard towards Jim's re-election. We feel he has and will continue to do a great job as Mayor and represent the citizens of Peoria with the utmost integrity and highest ethical standards.


Paul Wilkinson said...

Hey Diane,
Dan Irving is running for the 5th District Seat as well. He ran for at large council in the last city election. He's a good man and also has an interest in the older neighborhoods in addition to his District, making him well rounded. He also serves on the city's liquor commission. I too am very glad that Jim Ardis is running again. It was a great event. Patrick Nichting is running for City Treasurer, not the County.

Diane Vespa said...

Thanks, Paul. I'll amend my comments above to reflect your correction. It was great seeing you last night!

Anonymous said...

Diane: did you purposely misspell Dave Leitch (you spelled it Leach)?

Diane Vespa said...

Yikes. Fixed. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Atta girl!!

shay said...

"... decreased crime rates..."

I guess I shouldn't expect the quiet solace of an isolated mountain peak, but the East Bluff still occasionally sounds like Beirut in its heyday some nights. Some folks act like they were displaced from the Harrison.

Didn't I read on the Peoria Pundit that a police reporter was laid off from PJS? Thats gotta help Jim's re-election prospects.

Maybe they can copy & paste the Blotter from the River City Times...and I probably need them to include that insightful romance advice column, too, while they're at it.