Ealy Announces for Mayor


Published on December 17 2018 6:16 am
Last Updated on December 17 2018 6:17 am

“A campaign of positive energy, ideas, and reform” is being unveiled officially this week by Scott Ealy, longtime Effingham attorney and community volunteer. Ealy filed his petitions of candidacy for the office of Mayor of Effingham on Friday afternoon.

“I’ve been speaking with people, and, most importantly, I’ve been listening,” said Ealy, 58, a private attorney who also frequently receives and accepts court appointment in legal matters.

On Monday, Ealy announced several tentative goals for the Office of Mayor, a comprehensive plan which he says is subject to future improvement and revision based on citizen input.

  1. The issue of repeated blockages of the railroad crossing on the four lanes of US 45 (Banker St.) on the south side of Effingham continues to fester. We can and should be doing more to resolve the problem, including the concept of public hearings involving federal, state, and local officials. This matter is about more than inconvenience. It’s a public safety issue. [Ealy presented correspondence to Governor Elect J.B. Pritzker on the issue during Pritzker’s visit to Effingham on December 9th].
  1. Lack of affordable (especially mid-range) housing is a key citizen concern. People see new developments springing up in other communities such as Altamont, but not here. Effingham must do a better job of promoting its advantages with more developers. On a related subject, although landlord-tenant law is primarily a state matter, there may be ways in which we can assist our landlords who already offer affordable housing. This subject, too, could be the focus of public hearings on the difficulties experienced by both landlord and tenant. We should invite our region’s state legislators to those hearings.
  1. The City of Effingham needs to have greater input and involvement when it comes to promoting and taking advantage of the thrilling improvements expected at Lake Sara. If successful, we could greatly expand our local tax base through the enhancement of local tourism, without burdening local taxpayers. The people of Effingham created Lake Sara, and we would do well to better assert our interests, for everyone. The lake is beautiful and well maintained, and our entire community needs to feel more a part of this regional jewel.
  1. As far as infrastructure, I anxiously await further guidance from Washington for our states and cities. Infrastructure was said to be a significant national priority. I expect that our infrastructure is sound, when compared to other cities. But, continued vigilance is necessary. There will be a great reliance on the expertise of our local work crews. By the way, speaking of infrastructure, it is my goal as a jogger to run (literally) every street in the city of Effingham during the upcoming campaign for better perspective as Mayor.
  1. The future is paramount, especially as we consider finances. We must generate new revenue, not through the burdens of taxation but by expanding opportunity in the private sector through new and exciting ventures and ideas. City government must be vigilant and well-informed on the matter of pensions. There are multiple Illinois Supreme Court decisions that must be understood and with which we must comply. Ultimately, the state’s $133-billion dollar pension hole will not be solved without regard for the future of Illinois cities. We cannot afford to sit back and let pension matters “happen” without the significant input of the people of Effingham.
  1. We can also prepare for the future through responsible living, including a stronger emphasis on recycling. The folks at Centenary United Methodist Church in Effingham have provided a great gift to the community by hosting a recycling collection headquarters. One simple way in which the city could assist in this effort would be through the sponsoring or design of instructional signage, which currently is mostly lacking at the collection site. As someone who himself recycles, I have learned that we’re not always “doing it right.” Improving our recycling methods will create a cleaner and more efficient recycling product. As one man told me recently, sometimes it takes small steps to make big change.
  1. Generally speaking, I have always believed that government ought not to compete with the private sector. I would entertain the idea of appointing a task force to examine ways in which the city could reduce government activity and expenditures that compete directly with private industry.
  1. I have suggested that city tourism and citizen pride would benefit from a privately-funded but governmentally-encouraged, Hollywood style “Walk of Fame” in downtown Effingham. The proposed walk would salute the accomplishments of many extraordinary citizens in and from our general community, including individuals such as: Fern Riley (nurse heroine of the St. Anthony Hospital fire of 1949); Ada Kepley; Zona B. Davis; Paul Davis; Glenn Brummer; John H. Schultz; Lolami Keller; Clyde Martin; Gregg Lohman; Tom Kelly; and many more. (Links to the accomplishments of these individuals and others are available via my Facebook site on the Internet).

Scott Ealy and his wife, Susan, reside in Effingham. She is a registered dietitian at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital. They attend St. Anthony Catholic Church. They volunteer together as Wish Granters for the Make-A-Wish organization and also devote time on behalf of Blessings In A Backpack. They are frequently seen jogging together during local and regional 5K charity running events.

Scott Ealy also serves as host and master of ceremonies on behalf of area Relay For Life activities.

Ealy is a graduate of Sacred Heart Grade School and Effingham High School. He earned as Associate in Applied Science Degree from Lake Land College and his Bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois – Springfield. He achieved his Juris Doctorate degree in Law from Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson in 1993, at which time he immediately returned to the Effingham area.

Ealy is a former adjunct professor of State & Local Government at Lake Land College.

In state government, Ealy served as a division manager for Illinois Information Service (Central Management Services) in the administration of then Governor James R. Thompson. Ealy served previously as an aide to Jim Edgar, then Illinois’ Secretary of State. Upon attaining his law degree, Ealy served the Secretary of State’s office as a legal representative in the office of Administrative Hearings.

Ealy currently serves as legal counsel for Summit Township.

He served in earlier days as incorporating attorney for Effingham County Habitat for Humanity. Other past involvements include service as a board member and volunteer for the Effingham County Humane Society and Ballard Nature Center in Altamont.

Ealy served as an appointed board member and, later, chairman of the Effingham County Mental Health Board for many years. Under Ealy’s guidance, mental health funding in the county was shared among local private service providers for the first time, rather than being distributed solely to one agency.

From 2013-2015, Ealy served as First Assistant State’s Attorney of Effingham County. He assisted in prosecuting the “Willow Long” case, among other matters. Ealy also was among the initial volunteer searchers for the then missing child, whose body was discovered many hours later following an exhaustive community search in rural Effingham County.

Under State’s Attorney Bryan M. Kibler, Ealy organized the county’s first Heroin / Opioids Task Force, which resulted in the community’s first formal public discussion on the issue. Ealy submitted a plan of local proactivity, which included the later-implemented use of lifesaving Narcan by first responders in the area. Ealy has had a lifelong involvement in the battle against substance abuse and addiction. This year alone, he has funded and conducted a private radio campaign in the Effingham area to encourage drug-free lifestyles.

Ealy once testified before the Illinois House Judiciary Committee in support of a legislative plan to promote drug-free accountability and advocacy by Illinois teens.

As a radio news reporter for many years, Ealy has produced broadcast work aired throughout the state via sources including Illinois Information Service, Illinois Public Radio, and, previously, the Illinois Farm Bureau Radio Network. In 1992 while in law school, Ealy provided nationwide coverage of Mississippi Supreme Court oral arguments in the resurrected civil rights era murder case of People v. de la Beckwith for the CBS Radio Network.

Ealy retains a number of contacts throughout government and media in the State of Illinois, which he believes can help to better serve the community.

“Over the years, I have worked with people from all walks of life in almost every imaginable circumstance – from ‘every day’ matters to hurricane relief,” Ealy said. “When people have needed help or a voice, I’ve been there. I would be very privileged to be able to continue my life’s work in a new role, that of Mayor for the City of Effingham.”