Jim Ardis

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Jim Ardis
Jim Ardis at city council meeting.jpg
Mayor of Peoria, Illinois
Assumed office
May 5, 2005 (2005-May-05)
Preceded by Dave Ransburg
Personal details
Born c. 1958–1960
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mimi
Children 3
Residence Peoria, Illinois
Alma mater Illinois State University (B.S., 1982)
Profession Corporate executive
Religion Roman Catholicism

Jim Ardis is an American corporate executive and politician who has been the mayor of Peoria, Illinois, since 2005. Prior to becoming mayor, he had served on the Peoria City Council from 1999 through 2005. In April 2017, Ardis was reelected to a Peoria-record fourth term as mayor. In addition to efforts to improve the city, Ardis has been involved directly with St. Jude and the Memphis to Peoria run since its inception with all proceeds going to children fighting childhood cancer.[1][2]

Background[edit]

When Ardis was 10, his father, Jim Ardis, Jr., became a Peoria city councilman, serving from 1969 to 1973. His grandfather, John Bulger, had been Peoria County clerk.[3]

Ardis graduated from high school at Spalding Institute in 1977 and from Illinois State University with a bachelor of science in industrial technology in 1982.[1][3]

Ardis owned O'Leary's Restaurant from 1994 to 1997. From 1999 to 2006, Ardis worked in sales for Univar;[3] from 2006 to 2010, he was Midwest Vice President of ELM Locating.[1] Since 2010, he has been Executive Director of Corporate Strategies for Peoria-based Axis, Inc., part of Jupiter Strategic Technologies Pvt. Ltd. of Bangalore.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

Ardis sold O'Leary's Restaurant in 1997 and was appointed to the Peoria city liquor commission.[3] He was elected a Peoria city councilman at-large in 1999, and remained a member of the council until 2005.[6]

Ardis was elected as mayor in 2005, defeating incumbent Dave Ransburg. He won re-election in 2009 against General John Parker.[6]

In 2011, Ardis sought appointment to the Illinois State Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Dale Risinger. Darin LaHood ultimately received the appointment.[6]

Twitter controversy[edit]

On April 15, 2014 at the request of Jim Ardis, Peoria police investigated Jon Daniel, the operator of a Twitter account parodying Ardis, on suspicion of the misdemeanor crime of false personation of a public official. After obtaining a warrant, police sent a SWAT Team to raid Daniel's home in West Bluff, seizing electronics and detaining three people for questioning. Police charged one man with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia following the raid, though no arrests were made in connection with the Twitter account.[7][8][9] On April 23, 2014, the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office announced that no charges would be filed against the creator of the original parody account after explaining that current law regarding impersonation of a public official does not include the use of electronic media.[10][11]

On June 11, 2014, Daniel, through the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Peoria, Ardis, and several city employees, claiming violation of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment.[12] Ardis responded with a press conference on June 12, in which he said the controversy "caused harm to our great city and serious threats against me and my family" and that "I will protect my rights and the rights of my family at all costs. I am exploring false light and defamation as well as other actions against those responsible for the placing and hosting of the libelous comments."[13]

On September 2, 2015, it was announced that the lawsuit was settled with $125,000 being awarded to Daniel.[14] The Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression gave Ardis one of its annual Jefferson Muzzle Awards for "the past year’s most outrageous and ridiculous affronts to free speech and press", declaring that he had "abus[ed] the power of his office to intimidate and silence a harmless parodist".[2]

Electoral history[edit]

Peoria mayoral election, 2005[15]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Jim Ardis 12,190 55.05%
David P. Ransburg 9,953 44.95%
Totals 22,143 100.00%
Peoria mayoral election, 2009[16]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Jim Ardis 14,893 90.50%
"General" Parker 1,563 9.50%
Totals 16,456 100.00%
Peoria mayoral election, 2013[17]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Jim Ardis 7,731 100.00%
Totals 7,731 100.00%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mayor Jim Ardis". City of Peoria. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The 2015 Jefferson Muzzle Awards". TJCenter.org. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Mayor Jim Ardis: Ensuring Progress in Peoria" (Magazine interview). InterBusiness Issues. Peoria, Illinois: Central Illinois Business Publishers. August 2006. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Peoria, Illinois: Axis, Inc. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  5. ^ "Jupiter Strategic Technologies Pvt. Ltd.". BusinessWeek Research. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  6. ^ a b c "JS EXCLUSIVE: Ardis wants state Senate job". Journal Star. February 17, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Fake Twitter account of Peoria, Ill., mayor prompts police raid". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ "Cops Raid Home, Seize Computers And Cell Phones Over Satirical Twitter Account". 
  9. ^ "Warrant shows Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis wanted Twitter parody culprits tracked down". Peoria Journal Star. 
  10. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Illinois Compiled Statutes". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ Kravetz, Andy. "No charges coming against creator of fake Mayor Ardis Twitter account". PJStar.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  12. ^ "City, Peoria Mayor sued for violating constitutional rights in "Twittergate"" (Press release). Chicago: American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ardis, Jim (June 12, 2014). "Statement by Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis after ACLU lawsuit (contains explicit language)". Peoria, Illinois: City of Peoria. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  14. ^ Kravets, David. "Man arrested for parodying mayor on Twitter gets $125K in civil lawsuit". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Consolidated Election Summary (04-05-05)". City of Peoria. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ "04-07-09 Cumulative Official Election Results". City of Peoria. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Election Results". Peoria Election Commission. Retrieved April 25, 2013.