Henry wins mayoral office

Henry wins mayoral office

By Sam Beard, @SamBeard_DE

Carbondale voters chose John “Mike” Henry as their next mayor over Carbondale city councilwoman Jane Adams. He will take office as the official head of the city May 5.

Henry, who had more than 62 percent of votes, graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1972. He said the first thing on his agenda is to review the city’s finances and make needed amendments to the budget.

“The budget will be passed before I take office,” he said. “I want us to review that budget, [the new City Council members and I] were the ones that have been out among the voters and listening to people in Carbondale.”


Henry was not the only winner last night. Adam Loos, Navreet S. Kang and Tom Grant snagged seats on the Carbondale City Council.

Henry said he wants to increase enrollment and encourage retention at SIU to help boost the local economy. He said he wants to encourage growth in the city’s entertainment scene for all people — not just students.

“Let’s do some venues that start at 7 o’clock at night for the old people,” Henry said with a chuckle. “We will be out of the way by 9 or 9:30. The college students come in, everybody is warmed up and good to go.”

He said he will push for a music festival on the Strip — closing down a portion South Illinois Avenue near Dairy Queen — to provide students and community members a safe place to have fun.

“[Students] need to have a good experience around here,” he said. “They need a place to blow off some steam after studying.”

Henry plans to institute a year-round farmer’s market on the corner of East Walnut Street and Washington Avenue.

“It’s one of the most doable things we can do,” he said. “The city owns the land. We can do a public-private partnership, find an investor to build the building, lease it back to the farmer’s market folks.”


He has talked to some interested investors, but said it is too early to provide details.  

His main platform is to make Carbondale more business friendly.

“Instead of a situation where we say, ‘Here is what you need to do,’ I think we should be saying, ‘What can we help you with?” Henry said in a previous interview.

Henry, who has owned and operated Henry Printing Inc. for 42 years, said he wants to bring in people from out of town to spend money here.

Additionally, Henry champions keeping Carbondale interim Police Chief Jeff Grubbs in the position permanently, but acknowledges that the decision is ultimately made by the city manager.

In an earlier interview, Henry said he would like to continue the initiative that periodically sends police officers to Carbondale Elementary School District 95’s four schools during classes, passing periods, lunch and recess.

“I would like to see us get back respect for the uniform, respect for the badge,” Henry said. “And have it so our children — when they are in trouble — will run to a policeman instead of away from a policeman.” 

Henry said he wanted to thank his voters for the support. 

There are no term limits for the mayor and the next election will be in 2019.

Sam Beard can be reached at [email protected]