City council election day kicks off Tuesday

By Francois Gatimu

The Carbondale City Council election commences Tuesday with important council decisions on the horizon.

The election has three incumbent candidates and one newcomer running for the three open seats on the city council. As Lee Fronabarger, Carolin Harvey and Jessica Bradshaw aim to retain their positions, former city manager Jeff Doherty is the only outside candidate seeking election.

Registered voters in Carbondale have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday at their precinct-assigned voting location for any of the following candidates.


Carbondale residents can register to vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday at the city clerk’s office located at 200 South Illinois Ave. 

Jeff Doherty

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Doherty has lived in Carbondale for 45 years and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SIU.

“My wife and I have raised our two children here,” Doherty said. “This is home.”

Doherty worked with the city for 32 years in various positions, including city manager from 1991 to 2007. Doherty said he hopes to bring his experience in financing, budgeting and running capital projects to “offer reasonable representation to all city residents.”

He currently serves as the executive director of Jackson Growth Alliance. He sits on the city’s personnel board and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. He is also the incumbent president of Southern Illinois Champion Community Investments.

Doherty said one of his top priorities if elected is to address the increased property and sales taxes on Carbondale residents. He hopes to highlight economic issues that he feels the city council members are not highly prioritizing.


“I can lend my voice to these concerns that are concerns by people in the community, and I feel they need to be addressed,” Doherty said.

Carolin Harvey

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Harvey was elected in 2013. She has resided in Carbondale for 46 years. She spent more than 38 years working at SIUC in various administrative offices.

The Alabama native is also a board member for the Hospice of Southern Illinois, The Women’s Center, Carbondale’s tourism board, NAACP Carbondale chapter and the African American Museum of Southern Illinois.

Harvey said she has considered the Downtown Master Plan to be among her major accomplishments in her time on the council.

“We just want the city to look good, and the way the city looks as you enter and exit plays a huge part of that,” Harvey said.

She said there is still much to be done, including moving the downtown power lines underground, which would “give the city a much-needed facelift.”

“I want to see the downtown redevelopment projects carry through, especially the burying the power lines,” Harvey said.

Harvey said she hopes to give the Carbondale residents a chance to form an agenda for the revitalization of the downtown area.

“I’m not here to serve myself,” Harvey said. “I am here to serve the citizens of Carbondale.”

Lee Fronabarger

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Missouri-native Fronabarger was elected in 2013. He has resided in Carbondale for more than 25 years and has spent the bulk of that time working in SIUC’s Transfer Student Services office.

He volunteers for numerous community service projects including The Varsity renovations. He has also served on the city’s preservation commission and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

Fronabarger said he has spent his time on the council creating “a diverse and growing economy.” He hopes to see the opening of co-worker spaces, which are office spaces that share services in order to cut costs.

“It’s especially good for young entrepreneurs who are coming up who might share amenities such as accountants,” Fronabarger said.

Fronabarger said he hopes to continue working toward building stronger city economy if re-elected.

“We have always had a balanced budget,” Fronabarger said, attributing the success to the council’s tireless efforts. “Never have we been in the red.”

Jessica Bradshaw

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Jessica Bradshaw, a Carbondale native, was elected in 2013 and works for the university as an office administrator in the electrical and computer engineering department.

She is a former Human Relations commission chair and has participated in numerous community groups such as Nonviolent Carbondale, Neighborhood Associations and Carbondale Main Street.

Bradshaw said she has brought a young, female voice to the city council during her first term, and that many successful city projects are “just getting off the ground.”

“I would feel like I am leaving a job half-finished if not re-elected,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said she hopes to focus on a comprehensive landlord licensing program. The licensing program would target landlords who don’t keep property up to par, which leads to a loss of licensure and inability to rent out property.

Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @frankDE28.

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