It is just days away from the Illinois Consolidated Election, and in Paris, Ill., the mayoral race is heating up with incumbent Craig Smith and Daniel Briseno both vying for position.
Both candidates have a plan for the city.
“I’m hoping to bring a new set of eyes and not just a new set of eyes but a little bit of youth to the office and look at things through a different perspective, different opinions from what’s always been there,” Briseno said.
“There’s always something on the horizon that we think that we can do a little bit better, and we keep working hard at it so that’s what we are doing now,“ Smith said.
Incumbent Smith is seeking his fifth term as mayor. Over the years, he says, he’s helped Paris grow and become prosperous.
If re-elected he wants to tackle issues like creating affordable housing and giving residents a better quality of life.
He also hopes to finish projects he started while in office including turning the former Paris High School building into assisted living apartments.
“We’ve been able to bring new business but one of the main things we’ve been able to do is also keep our existing businesses,“ Smith said. “So, I like to feel that because of the success we’ve had in the past they would hope we could continue that success in the future.“
On the other side of the aisle is Briseno, a newcomer to the political world who’s running in honor of a late friend.
“I was born and raised in Paris and it was just something I’ve always wanted to do,“ Briseno said.
If elected Briseno’s goals would be to help create business and attractions for area youth, create a historic district within city limit and redevelop Paris by using federal and state grants.
“There are plenty of programs, plenty of opportunities to help communities like us, and different grants, applications that we can get filled out and apply for and then in return we can do is take applications from the citizens and give those grants out to them,“ Briseno said.
Both candidates were born and raised in Paris each feel that their city is the ideal town to live and work in.
Smith and Briseno also agree that their campaigns have been civil and are letting the voters decide who they want to lead.
“It’s a loving community, it’s a great community,“ Briseno said. “I couldn’t think of any other place in the world that I’d rather live other than here.“
“So, we’ve had a lot of success, we are going to build on that success and hope that we can continue on it and that’s why we are asking for your vote again,“ Smith said.
If Smith wins, he said his fifth term will be his last. As for Briseno, if he doesn’t win, he will run again.
Along with the mayoral race, Paris’ city council and school board are also competitive this year.
Tuesday night, we will bring you all the latest right here on WTWO/WAWV, your election headquarters.