After a nervous night at the Jackson County Courthouse, incumbents Jessica Bradshaw and Carolin Harvey, along with former Carbondale Doherty, will represent Carbondale for the next four years on the Carbondale City Council.
Harvey received the most votes at 1,269. Bradshaw received 1,037 votes and Doherty received 1,000 votes with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. The remaining candidate — incumbent Lee Fronabarger — received 946 votes.
In a race featuring three incumbents and a former, long-time city government employee, it was tight down to the wire.
Jessica Bradshaw was able to keep her seat on the council and serve a second term for the people of Carbondale.
“I am pretty happy,” she said. “I am looking forward to another four years.”
Throughout her campaign, she said it seems that Carbondale is at a crossroads at the moment, but it’s often said that with change comes opportunity. She’s said the past four years has seen a lot of changes and she’s ready continue the work she and the rest of the council has started.
Jeff Doherty was the city manager in Carbondale for 16 years and is now looking forward to sitting on the other side of government in the council chair.
“I am very excited,” he said. “I love the city of Carbondale. I love Carbondale city government. I’m excited to get back into and be on the policy-making side of things.”
Doherty’s major concern throughout the election season has been protecting and enhancing Carbondale’s neighborhoods and encouraging homeownership. He also talked about reducing the tax burden on property owners, residents and businesses.
He has said encouraging business growth and investing in economic development and making sure the police department is adequately staffed to address crime in Carbondale. Doherty has also talked about making sure the Building and Neighborhood Services Division is staffed to address housing issues in the city.
“I want to bring some focus to some of those issues. I think there needs to be a little more focus on our neighborhoods and dealing with rental properties in town and encouraging homeownership and talking about the tax burden that is on Carbondale residents,” he said. We need to bring it out to the forefront and deal with it and that’s what I’m going to be talking about.”
Harvey has said on many occasions that she doesn’t have an agenda as a city councilwoman and she wants to hear what the residents have to say. Well, she has another four years of listening.
“I like to continue the downtown development, definitely,” she said. “Some of the other things include the city’s rebranding. I’m not really a talker. I really like to listen to people and get their ideas.”
Issues that were of importance to her were growing the tax base within the city while maintaining a balanced budget so services such as police, fire, water and trash collection continue to be controlled by the city.
Harvey also said making sure current businesses are happy and want to stay in Carbondale is important, along with making Carbondale attractive so new businesses want to open up shop in the city. Additionally, planning for the total solar eclipse and successfully implementing those plans is something that has to be on the forefront of all those involved in Carbondale.
“I think the eclipse is an excellent opportunity for Carbondale to showcase itself and for SIU to showcase itself,” she said. “That is the immediate thing that I would like to see us continue to work on.”
Fronabarger was hoping to build on his previous six years on council, but he said he’s proud of the progress the council has made during his tenure.
“I am proud of what we have done in the past four years especially,” he said. “We have accomplished a lot. I was hoping to stay on the council to finish some projects we just started, but that is the way it goes. I appreciate all the voters that supported me and we will go from there.”
The candidates will take office during the May 2 City Council meeting.