DANVILLE – For only the second time in 32 years, the City of Danville has elected a new mayor and elected its first African-American mayor.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., who has been serving as acting mayor following Mayor Scott Eisenhauer’s early resignation from the position in November, follows Eisenhauer who served 15 and a half years in the position and Mayor Bob Jones who served 16 years in the position.
Williams received 2,153 votes or 47.80 percent of the vote to beat out Illini Skateland co-owner James McMahon who received 1,080 votes or 23.98 percent of the vote, longtime Ward 6 Alderman and businessman Steve Nichols who received 857 votes or 19.03 percent and Danville Code Enforcement Inspector Donald Crews who received 396 votes or 8.79 percent of the total votes.
Election results reported on April 2 are unofficial. Certified results will be available after April 16.
Williams, 41, and the other elected officials who won Tuesday night will be sworn in on May 7. Williams was initially sworn-in in November and became the city’s first African-American mayor to serve as acting mayor.
Citizens for Williams hosted an election results party Tuesday night for supporters at the Community Church of God on South Bowman Avenue.
Williams said Tuesday night he was grateful for being elected mayor.
“I’m thankful for the voters and the way the election came out. I do wish more people voted,” he said about the 4,504 votes cast of the 17,365 registered voters in the city, or 25.94 percent voter turnout.
“I was hoping I’d win by a clear margin,” Williams also said about people believing in him as a leader.
He said he won in every ward in every precinct but one.
“I'm just looking forward to working with the alderman and citizens …,” Williams said about making the city the best it can be.
Williams at the Danville City Council meeting Tuesday night also thanked everyone who ran for office in the city.
He also later thanked the council members who also lost Tuesday night for their service and said “we still have a month and a budget left to pass.”
Williams said he promised his Project Success of Vermilion County board that he’d leave them at least four to six weeks to find someone to fill his director position. He expects to be finished with Project Success by around mid-May.
“That’s going to be hard,” he said.
He said there are a couple people with that organization who could possibly be considered for various roles.
Williams said he’s glad with the election over, moving forward with positions and other city actions won’t be in limbo anymore.
It was a lifelong dream of Williams to become mayor. He’s previously said citizens can always expect honesty from him; that he will be a good steward of the city’s resources; and “I will give you my all every day.”
Williams said he’s looking forward to achieving great results for the city. Infrastructure, neighborhood and business development are some of his primary focuses.