News Local/State

La Due Looks Back On 32 Years On Champaign City Council

DeParting Champaign City Council member Michael La Due.

Michael La Due, photographed at the downtown Champaign tobacco shop he manages. La Due is finishing up 32 years serving as the District Two representative on the Champaign City Council. Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

Champaign’s longest serving elected official is leaving office next month. Michael LaDue, who was first elected to the Champaign City Council in 1985, is stepping down, following his defeat by challenger Alicia Beck in the April 4th election. Illinois Public Media’s Jim Meadows paid a visit to Jon’s Smoke Shop in downtown Champaign to talk to La Due, who is the manager there.

La Due talks about how he first ran for the city council, and some of the changes he's seen over the past three decades, in the size of the city, the changes to downtown Champaign, and efforts to improve relations between Champaign police and the African-American community.

La Due also talks about his loss to Alicia Beck in the April 4th election, and whether he might seek public office again. (La Due continues to serve as a member of the Champaign Public Library Board).

Finally, La Due reads one of his poems. An accomplished poet, Illinois history is a frequent subject of his work. "A Beginning At The End Of The Road" captures a moment in which a young Abraham Lincoln took a stand against slavery while serving in the Illinois House.

La Due will give a reading of his poems at the Champaign Public Library, on Wednesday, April 26, at 7 PM, in celebration of National Poetry Month.