Smile Politely

Meet Greg Stock

Teacher, realtor, and long-time resident Greg Stock recently joined the Champaign City Council after Marci Dodds vacated the District 4 seat. We sat down with him to see what he’s all about.

Smile Politely: What are your connections to Champaign-Urbana?

Greg Stock: I’m originally from Peoria, but I  moved here in 1994 when I took a job at Centennial High School as a social studies teacher. I’ve been here ever since then. 

SP: Tell me more about your professional background.

Stock: I’ve taught social studies at Centennial for many years. I accepted a dean’s position there for a few years, but then I went back to the classroom. I’m currently department chair and social studies teacher. I’m also a realtor. I started working in real estate in 2005 or so. 

SP: Why did you apply for the District 4 seat?

Stock: I’m interested in government in general. And local government is the day-to-day level that impacts people’s lives. As a social studies teacher, I teach government, so I think about it a lot. I also see serving on the seat as a form of community service.

SP: What do you think are the most important issues facing the Champaign City Council currently?

Stock: Well, this isn’t facing the city council in particular, but one issue facing the city of Champaign as a whole is the number of violent activities taking place in our community. It’s a huge issue because it impacts everyone. I also think economic development and older infrastructure, like streets and sewer systems in the core areas of Champaign, are important issues.

SP: How have you learned about Champaign City Council processes so far?

Stock: Well, some of them I already knew because I’ve been watching city council meetings for years. But being a board member is totally different. For example, on my second day as a member of council, I had an email from someone about re-zoning and environmental cleanup issues. I don’t know much about those issues. But over the past few weeks, there has been an orientation process with every department. I’m going to do more of that over the summer, too. And the city staff has been really helpful. There is definitely a learning curve, though.

SP: How would you characterize District 4?

Stock: It’s a very diverse district. It encompasses most of downtown. But the Kraft plant is also in this district. It extends all the way to Mattis, and there is a huge amount of different types of neighborhoods. One thing all those neighborhoods have in common is that they’re all old. They constitute the core of the city. So infrastructure is an issue here in ways it might not be in District 5, for example. It’s a vast district of different needs, but all of District 4’s neighborhoods need up-to-date infrastructure.

SP: Tell me your views on a couple of the most contentious issues in Champaign currently: the issue of a police review board and Officer Matt Rush.

Stock: Most of the controversy about Matt Rush took place before I was on board. I can’t speak much to that. But there is no one on earth who could look at what he’s been involved in and defend his actions. That’s just my perspective as a citizen, though. Ninety percent of that issue took place before my time. As far as police/community relations go, those issues have mattered for years and years. It’s unfortunate because the vast majority of the time the police do exactly what they should do. We sometimes focus on the least common denominator. Most police do a good job.

SP: Downtown Champaign has been the site of tons of development recently. What kind of development do you think still needs to take place in the heart of our city?

Stock: When I think about how downtown was when I came to Champaign in the early 90s, it’s just crazy. There is so much more than what there used to be. Having said that, more housing would be nice. The restaurant scene seems to be more vibrant by the month, but I hope there can also be affordable housing for people who work downtown.

SP: How would you describe your political philosophy?

Stock: I think role of government is to improve things for people by providing a good quality of life. I think government should be an effective piece of making people’s lives better. I would also describe myself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. 

SP: What are some of your favorite aspects of your district?

Stock: Certainly one of the things I like about District 4 is that it’s older. As a realtor, I appreciate older neighbors with nice places to walk. I like Hessel Park and the restaurant scene. I still need to try a lot of places downtown. Since I’m a teacher, summertime is my time to get out in the world. That being said, I go to Le Peep every weekend. I like that middle core of the city. If you gave me a map, I would say I spend most of my time in District 4. And I like the fact that it’s so diverse. 

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