BLOOMINGTON — A State Farm attorney has entered the contest to represent Ward 8 on the Bloomington City Council, saying the city needs to focus more on helping local businesses grow.
Jeff Crabill, 50, announced his candidacy at a news conference Monday night at El Toro restaurant, which is part of the Links at Ireland Grove business development.
He will vie in the April 2 nonpartisan municipal election against McLean County Board member Josh Barnett, another announced candidate for the council seat held since September 2014 by Diana Hauman. She is not seeking another another term. Crabill has not sought an elected office before.
Crabill said the Links development, with its diverse range of local businesses, is a great example of his campaign's theme, "Grow Local."
"Instead of giving money to outside companies, we need to find ways to help people start and grow their businesses," Crabill said. "Money spent on local businesses stays in the community, rather than a company's headquarters out of state."
Crabill said 95 percent of the businesses in Bloomington are locally based, and among the most notable is the community's largest employer, State Farm.
Crabill has spoken during public comments at several City Council meetings to urge the council to adopt a proposed welcoming city ordinance that has failed to gain traction with a majority of the aldermen.
"That's an issue that is important to me because my wife is a naturalized citizen from Hong Kong," Crabill said. They have been married for 21 years and have two daughters.
Crabill plans to talk to residents of Ward 8 to learn about their concerns and how the city can better serve them.
"Besides going door to door, I plan to have multiple listening sessions to help define my platform," he added.
Crabill, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., moved to Bloomington six years ago to fill an attorney position at State Farm's corporate headquarters.
"I love Bloomington. We are such a welcoming and diverse city," Crabill said. "The challenges we have as a community are really opportunities for us to grow. I want to be a part of that."
He graduated from the Multicultural Leadership Program in 2017 and co-facilitates the 2019 class. He participated in the Bloomington 101 program and was appointed to Bloomington's Cultural Commission. He also serves on the board of Heartland Head Start.
He received his bachelor's degree with an economics major from Franklin College in Franklin, Ind., and his law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.