Smile Politely

Meet the Mayoral Contenders: A Q & A with Deb Feinen, Karen Foster and Joe Petry

Come April 2015, the citizens of the city of Champaign will cast their ballots in the 2015 Mayoral Election. In anticipation of that election, we here at Smile Politely want to invite readers to our Q & A on Friday, June 20th at Mike ‘N Molly’s.

Meet the Mayoral Contenders: A Q & A with Deb Feinen, Karen Foster and Joe Petry will take place at 6 p.m. on June 20th — and we’ll be moderating and asking questions to the candidates running against current Champaign Mayor Don Gerard.

We’ll be taking submissions from our readers — which you can submit to us at — and we’ll sift through them and choose questions to pose to the contenders. No debate style on this event — we’ll take a few minutes per question, per person, and move on through the event.


A resident of Champaign for more than 40 years Deb is married to Chuck and is mom to Karlee and Catherine. She is a partner with Tummelson, Bryan & Knox, LLP and an Impartial Due Process Hearing Officer for ISBE. Deb serves as an At-Large City Council Member having been appointed in August of 2006 and elected in April of 2007 and 2011.

Feinen’s website:




Elected to City Council in 2007, and re-elected in 2011 for a second term, Karen Foster is an educator — preschool to college. She’s currently a preschool educator with a degree in Education, along with a Master’s degree in guidance and counseling. She’s worked in a county nursing home as Director of Intergenerational Childcare Center for 15 + years, and switched gears to politics after that job ended. She has a husband and two kids — a son with two kids and a daughter.

Foster’s Champaign City Council page: Karen Foster
Foster’s Twitter: @KBFoster 
Foster’s email:


Joe Petry is a Champaign native and is a Clinical Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Illinois. Joe is the President of the Champaign Park District Board and was recently elected as the IAPD Chairman, representing approximately 2,000 park commissioners throughout the state. He and his wife Ann, who he met at the U of I, have been married for 26 years.

Petry’s website: 
Petry’s Facebook: Joe Petry for Mayor 
Petry’s Twitter: @PetryForMayor


Editor’s Note: Don Gerard and his campaign team were invited to this event, but declined the opportunity.

Related Articles