Learning about Bloomington Ward 7 Primary Candidates: Kelby Cumpston
Written by Maritza Navar-Lopez on February 18, 2021
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A Bloomington native and Illinois State University alumni is running in the primary for Ward Seven.
Municipal elections are on April 6th and there’s a Bloomington primary on February 23rd.
There are five candidates running to represent Ward Seven. Candidates include Daniel Freburg, incumbent Mollie Ward, June Peterson-Middlebrooks, Correta L. Jackson and Kelby Cumpston.
Kelby Cumpston was raised in McLean County and graduated from Illinois State University with a double major in economics and sociology. He currently works as a project manager overseeing the construction of affordable housing throughout Illinois and Indiana.
Cumpston chose to run because he has been following the Bloomington City Council for years. He says he has watched City Council meetings, read through the agendas, and taken notes through the years.
“I’ve worked with current city council members in the past and I had a relationship with Ward Seven’s previous council member Scott Black. I saw an opportunity when Black said he was stepping out and I decided to step in. Not only that but I am working with the People’s First Coalition. That’s what I’m really excited about is that there are three other candidates running kind of on the same slate as the coalition and we are all working together to make sure we can get a progressive majority on the council,” said Cumpston.
Some of the issues Cumpston is focusing on during his campaign for Ward Seven includes safe affordable housing and COVID-19 relief and recovery.
“I do think there are some programs the city could work on to help small landlords upgrade a lot of their existing systems and get an incentive going for that work. So, it would be lifting up the small landlords but also lifting up the actual number of affordable housing units we have in the city,” said Cumpston.
He also says he wants to focus on moving beyond policing. He emphasizes the need to get social workers to respond to mental health crisis instead of armed police officers.
“Not only will this help lower costs and liability in the long term for the city and their budget, but this helps EMS and firefighters as well. They would also benefit from having a strong workforce of ready to go social workers to respond to crises that require years and years of training and not just a few classes on it.”
When looking at the primary ballot, Cumpston says his research is what will make him stand out. He says because he has dedicated time to reading agendas and watching the boards and commissions, he has learned the backends of the city government level.
“I am constantly trying to learn more about how everything has been functioning. That way I can help usher in a successful progressive majority on the council. I think it’s incredibly important to not only win the seat but also win the policy. By doing all that research we can get the policies that we are talking about,” said Cumpston.
Cumpston also wanted to note projects coming to Ward Seven. He emphasized pushing for work and changes surrounding the O’Neil Pool in Bloomington.