Calling himself part of "a new generation of politicians," the seemingly omnipresent Carbondale native Nathan Colombo now will challenge the city's mayor for his seat in next spring's election.
Colombo, 29, announced Monday that he will run for mayor in the April 2, 2019, municipal election, now having emerged as the sole challenger to Mayor John "Mike" Henry. Henry announced earlier this fall that he will seek a second term.
Colombo said he and other young people see "pursuit of elected office as their civic duty." He further acontended his youthful energy and close associations with the local entertainment community will help to advance Carbondale's reputation as a cultural destination.
In addition, Colombo spoke about fostering inclusion throughout Carbondale.
"[W]e must also ensure that we live up to the standards which we have set for ourselves," he said. "It will not be enough to speak to Carbondale as a diverse community, but to ensure we have mechanisms of inclusion that provide access to personal growth and financial security for all residents, regardless of their skin color or social status."
Colombo, who has not held political office, also filed to run for U.S. Congress in 2017, but he ultimately abandoned that bid. He currently is campaign and resource development director for the United Way of Southern Illinois. He also serves of the board of the Varsity Center.
As part of his platform, Colombo said he also would work to overhaul the city's bidding process, establish a community foundation to help fund not-for-profit organizations, commit to an accurate population count in the 2020 census, and strengthen ties between the city and Carbondale Main Street and Carbondale Tourism.
Henry, first elected to office in 2015, is citing accomplishments including working more closely with SIUC administrators, funding and implementing the first two phases of the Downtown Streetscape plan, overseeing the eclipse and Halloween celebrations downtown, and the passage of balanced city budgets.
Moving forward, Henry has cited the need to continue working with SIU, complete the Streetscape plan, and obtain funding for a planned transportation center downtown.
"As I have said many times before, together we are making Carbondale the place that you and I, our children and grandchildren are proud to call home," Henry previously said.
Full slate running for city council
In addition to the mayoral race, three at-large seats on the city council also will be up for grabs in the spring.
Incumbents Adam Loos, Tom Grant and Navreet Kang all are running to keep their seats. All are completing their first terms in office.
Challenging them are Mark Chalem, Ted Gutierrez, Jerrold Hennrich, Greg Knoob and former councilman Lee Fronabarger. The top three vote-getters will be seated on the council following the election.