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Candidates spar over police reform in District 2 Peoria City Council race

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Two candidates with different views on police reform are vying to represent Peoria's 2nd District on the City Council.

"There is a fundamental philosophical chasm as it relates to him and me as it relates to public safety," incumbent Chuck Grayeb said.

Grayeb has served five terms on Peoria's City Council, three in an at-large seat from 1995 to 2007 and two as 2nd District Councilperson from 2013 onward.

Now a relative newcomer, Peter Kobak, is challenging him on public safety issues and police policy. Kobak missed out on an at-large seat in 2019, and he is seeking his first term on the Council.

"I want to expand the notion of public safety by pairing law enforcement with other expertise like social workers, mental health workers to ensure we're addressing the root causes of crime," Kobak said.

Grayeb says Kobak's views go too far. He's open to letting social workers help police, but only in a limited capacity. Instead, he wants to get more funding to mental health treatment services and rehabilitation.

"I believe we would reduce crime a great deal by taking care of our mentally ill people and giving them the help they need," Grayeb said.

Grayeb and Kobak finished first and second in the primary. A third candidate, James Kemper, collected around 20 percent of the vote. Kobak says if those voters turn to him, he could win the seat.

Courtesy Peoria County Election Commission

"We agreed on a lot of things," Kobak says of Kemper. "I'm hoping that… the reasons they supported him are going to be some of the reasons they come over and support us."

As for Grayeb, he says his experience and steady hand will help him win over undecided voters.

"The people of Peoria have elected me some five times," Grayeb said. "They know that I'm a man of my word. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean."

The General Election takes place April 6.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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