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Scout interviews Curphy Smith

Curphy Smith is a resident of the Uplands Neighborhood. He is originally from Princeville and graduated from Eastern Illinois University. He has worked in the local financial sector for 13 years.
Editor’s note: Answers were edited for space constraints.
Scout: Why do you want to represent the second district?
Smith: I believe I have the necessary skills and experience to not only represent the second district, but the city of Peoria. My financial background, my current involvement in some of the boards, makes me a very round candidate, and, I believe, the better candidate for this position.
Scout: Why do you think you’re a better fit for the second district than your opponent?
Smith: Thirteen years of financial experience … gives me an edge in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, the council’s going to lose someone with that type of experience in Councilman Bob Manning. And I respect his ability to – not only in the financial part of business, but in other parts of city business – to be able to do his due diligence.
Scout: What are your qualifications to serve the second district?
Smith: I have 13 years in the finance industry. I’m the vice president of a commercial bank in town, and I currently sit on the city traffic commission, which gives me the experience. And I’m currently working on a couple of things that helps out with infrastructure, which is very important and I think is lacking in this area. I also am the president of the Heartland Community Development Corporation, it’s a conglomerate of banks and other institutions that help start up businesses get going. I’m a past officer of the neighborhood association within the second district.
Scout: Do you have any working relationships with anyone with Bradley?
Smith: Yeah, I have worked with them. I’m in the financial industry and I’ve met with … [Vice President for Business Affairs] Gary Anna. Also, in regards to some of Bradley’s expansion plans, when they were going through that I met with them as a neighborhood association officer. I’ve met with [University President Joanne] Glasser a couple times to talk about some issues that are important to her, to Bradley and to the surrounding neighborhoods. I’ve also spoke with [University Police Chief Dave] Baer to find out what his role is not just with Bradley University, but with the community. 
Scout: What role do you think Bradley and its students play in the community?
Smith: I think it’s a huge role. I think Bradley … sometimes we overlook the role they play. It’s a huge anchor in the second district. The amount of revenue that gets put in the district from the university is tremendous, and I think we need to realize what a gem we have amongst us and utilize this resource to make the rest of the district better.
Scout: What is the single most important issue facing the city of Peoria?
Smith: Well, there’s a lot of issues facing the city right now.  [One important issue] is the combined sewer outflow problem the EPA has mandated. That is an unfunded mandate, and … what they want us to do is spend millions and millions of dollars on a project that isn’t going to make a one percent difference on the river or on the life of the river. And we need to find some way to work with them to solve the problem. Or if we’re going to spend the money, at least make it different to improve the … quality of life along the river.
Scout: Do you support the Walkable West Bluff Campaign?
Smith: I would absolutely support it, 100 percent. I feel it needs to be done, and it’s been far too long that we’ve waited for this. I now they’ve had some bumps in the road, but I support that effort and we need to make sure we go forward with it.
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