CARBONDALE — Mike Henry will be serving a second term as Carbondale’s mayor — he won re-election by about 200 votes against challenger Nathan Colombo.
The final tally was 1,117 for Henry and 907 for Colombo.
“I never assumed that I am going to win, and the closeness of this race, I can tell that that was a good decision,” he said.
“I think that shows the amount of support we had from the community,” Colombo said about his margin of loss.
“There is lots of work to be done and I look forward to being involved,” he said.
He may have a very direct way of doing that soon, according to Henry.
“I’d like to find a place where he could serve the city, and he seemed open to that,” Henry said, indicating that this place could be on the city's Planning Commission.
Colombo said he met all of his goals with the race: He ran a clean campaign and didn’t lose by a landslide. A win would have been nice, he said, but he was proud of the effort.
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Henry will have his work cut out for him. During the next four years, he will have to work with Southern Illinois University to help stem the loss of students coming and staying at the school — though some have argued this is not as much a city problem as it is an SIU problem.
Henry will also have opportunities to help shape the future of the city’s downtown. With several legacy businesses up for sale along Illinois Avenue, the mayor will be able to lend a hand to potential investors to bring new life to the Strip.
Working with Henry will be two incumbent City Council members and one fresh face — sort of. Carbondale’s voters on Tuesday again elected councilmen Adam Loos and Tom Grant. Lee Fronabarger is also returning to City Council; he previously served six years on the council. Voters passed on incumbent Navreet Kang and Human Relations Commissioner Jerrold Hennrich. Running at-large without wards, each candidate stood on equal footing with the others in the race.
Carbondale’s mayoral race was characterized by decidedly different views of where Carbondale should be going and how it should get there.
During a March candidate forum, Henry suggested staying the course and ran through a long list of successes for his administration.
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“What I want to do is keep going,” Henry said in his opening remarks. He wanted to continue down the road, he said, that he has started down in his first four years as mayor, exploring his connections with local businesses and education leaders.
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Henry will be sworn in for his second term in early May.