An Egyptian-born imam is running for the vacant Peoria City Council At-Large seat.
36-year-old Amr Elsamny works for several local nonprofits and advocacy groups, including the Peoria Community Against Violence and the Interfaith Alliance.
Elsamny announced his candidacy at City Hall Mon., flanked by supporters from various faith groups, including St. Paul Baptist Church and the Universalist Unitarian Church.
“I’m running to represent all of you. Not to represent Muslims, not to represent the Arabs, not to represent the Christians or the Jews or the Atheists. Or whatever religion or faith you follow. I’m here to represent you,” Elsanny said.
Elsamny says he’s running in light of events, like police-involved shootings of African Americans and President-Elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants.
“It’s really time to say ‘no’ to bigotry," Elsamny said. "A lot of our citizens, a lot of my brothers and sisters here for the first time, I’m seeing this in my life, are so disappointed in their country, and it’s time to change that.”
He says in addition to bringing more diversity representation to council, his platform is to attract more business to Peoria, though he didn't outline specific policies or plans.
He faces six other challengers so far in the Spring election running for 2 seats. Appointed At-Large Councilman Sid Ruckriegel, 5th District Councilman Casey Johnson, Zach Oyler, Robert Hanauer, John Kelly and Andrew Nichols round out the field.
The At-Large seat was vacated by former City Councilman Ryan Spain, who’s been elected 73rd District State Representative.