PEORIA — The field of candidates to replace Rita Ali as an at-large Peoria City Council member has been winnowed to three. On Wednesday, City Hall released the names of three people — Kim Armstrong, James Kemper and Kiran Velpula — who were identified as finalists for the position. Each will be invited for an interview during
PEORIA — The field of candidates to replace Rita Ali as an at-large Peoria City Council member has been winnowed to three.
On Wednesday, City Hall released the names of three people — Kim Armstrong, James Kemper and Kiran Velpula — who were identified as finalists for the position. Each will be invited for an interview during closed session next Tuesday.
During this week’s special council meeting Tuesday, members of the council gathered in closed session to discuss a field of some two dozen people who put in for the vacancy, which was created when Ali was elected to the mayor’s office in April.
Each council member was to have submitted a ranking of their top choices by noon Tuesday. The City Clerk’s Office on Wednesday declined to provide the lists submitted by each council member under a provision of the Freedom of Information Act that exempts a “preliminary recommendation” made by government officials.
The council has until roughly the end of the month to name a replacement for Ali.
Armstrong is a vice president of marketing at Illinois Central College and has assisted Ali on past campaigns. She said she wanted to find “solutions that will drive opportunity for our citizens, our businesses and grow our economy.”
Peoria, she wrote in her cover letter, “needs leaders who can use data to drive decisions. Leaders who aren’t afraid to learn from other cities who have faced similar challenges and are now thriving. And leaders who can put aside differences on the HOW and focus on the WHY to create a plan.”
Kemper is an architect with Demonica Kemper Architects and a former member of the Illinois Air National Guard. He also unsuccessfully sought the 2nd District council seat in the February primary. He said there is a “feeling uncertainty to absolute despair blemishes many of my friends’ perspectives about the future of our City, most of them are business owners.”
He said he would work to create solutions to their worries and to help City Hall regain its fiscal stability.
“We are not stable, and if I am promoted to a position of leadership, I will tirelessly commit my resources to finding equitable solutions to become stable, while exploring creative means to grow and prosper,” he said.
Velpula is an assistant professor in the departments of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology, Pediatrics and Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and unsuccessfully sought a seat on the ICC board of trustees this spring. He grew frustrated when doctors he trained left the area but now sees the need to better market the city.
“I now believe that the best way to maintain this talent is through enhancing what Peoria has to make it more attractive to the next generation of leaders,” he wrote in his cover letter. “My passion is to show the world what an amazing place Peoria is to work, raise a family, and enjoy a great life.
“We have the basic assets that many mid‐sized cities do not, but we need to enhance those resources and showcase them nationally to attract new residents,” he added.