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Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis will not run for re-election

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PEORIA (HOI) -- After serving as Peoria's mayor since 2005, Jim Ardis says he will not be seeking re-election.

Ardis made the announcement during a press conference at the City Council chambers Wednesday morning, saying it was a difficult decision.

He said he spent a lot of time with family and in prayer thinking about the decision on whether to run.

"We together decided I would not be seeking a fifth term as mayor," said Ardis.

Ardis, who was first elected to the city council 1999, saw Peoria encounter several challenges over his 15-year run as mayor, including the Great Recession of 2008, Caterpillar Inc. announcing their headquarter move to the Chicago suburb of Deerfield in 2017, and now, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Ardis said 2020 was supposed to be a good year for Peoria, but the pandemic has brought its own set of problems.

"We came into this year with a balanced budget, we were putting close to $2 million in reserves, the Civic Center was doing a great job, all the hotels were fantastic and unemployment was below 4%," Ardis said. "It was just going to be a fantastic year and nobody had any idea about COVID and the impacts that would have on us."

However, he said municipalities like Peoria will always have tough times and the lack federal and state funding will not make for any easier days ahead.

When asked if his career in politics are over, or if he had interest in running for a higher office, Ardis said, "Probably in light of frustration that I just kind of talked about with Springfield, I have no desire to be there and I even have less desire to be in Washington, D.C.."

As for the six remaining months in his current term, Ardis said completing the city's budget will be at the top of his list.

"We need to get this budget done... It's the most important thing this council does," said Ardis.

This story will be updated.

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