Steve Kouri is dropping out of the race for the District 4 Peoria City Council seat to take an appointment on the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
The story was first reported via a statement Kouri released to the Peoria Journal Star. He confirmed the report in an interview with WCBU.
“One of my platforms for the city council was creating more opportunities for people with disabilities. I'm going to be able to do that for all minorities statewide, including Peoria,” said Kouri, who has cerebral palsy.
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Kouri's appointment to the commission last week.
“It is a great honor in general, but for me ... I know people like me can't even get a part-time job, let alone a job like this,” said Kouri. “It kind of skyrockets myself and my career, and I think I'm going to do great things on the commission and it will lead to more opportunities for me.”
The decision potentially leaves District 4 candidate Andre Allen unopposed in the April general election. He finished second in last month's primary. Kouri led the field with 50.4% of the vote to Allen's 42.8%, as of the last unofficial tally. Patricia Melaik came in third with 6.7%.
“Regardless of what happens, my campaign will continue to do voter outreach, and knocking on doors, and canvassing. Making those phone calls and connecting with the constituents in District 4,” said Allen. “Although this changes our strategy slightly, it doesn't change our commitment to engaging with the voters and earning their vote on April 6.”
Allen said he's still waiting to hear about what comes next in the process. The Peoria County Election Commission certifies the primary results on Thursday, and early voting for the general election begins on Friday.
Whether Allen appears as the only option for voters on the ballot depends on Kouri's timing.
“If Mr. Kouri officially withdrawals before the printing of ballots, his name (would) be removed and only Mr. Allen would be listed on the ballot,” said Peoria County Election Commission Executive Director Tom Bride.
Printing is expected to begin on Wednesday.
While he is no longer seeking the council seat, Kouri said he hasn't decided yet whether to officially remove his name from the ballot.
“I'm still looking at the legalities,” he said. “I will be reaching out to the election commission in the next couple days and see what the legalities are, and see what is best for Peoria.”
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