In the city of Champaign, Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen could be one of the most visible examples of Illinois REALTORS® who give back to their communities through public service.
In 1993, Feinen began a 14-year stint as a member of the Champaign County Board. She followed that up with an at-large appointment to the Champaign City Council in 2006, then was elected mayor in 2015. An attorney by trade, in 1998 she joined the firm of Nally, Bauer, Feinen & Mann, PC and in 2013 she joined the firm of Tummelson, Bryan & Knox as a partner. As an attorney who handles residential and commercial real estate transactions for her clients, she has been an affiliate member of Illinois REALTORS® since 1999.
When asked what’s inspired her to run for office, Feinen said, “I would say the opportunity to make my hometown the best place to live, work, stay and play.”
She believes her real estate work as an attorney has helped her get more involved in the community. “As a local attorney, I have met so many people through my real estate practice,” she said. “Often at the closing table you have the chance to catch up with local REALTORS® and residents about issues that are on their minds with respect to the city. Our local REALTORS® also give back, and I have volunteered time with them when they have done community service work.”
Brix and Stock join the action
In 2016, two Champaign-area REALTORS® joined the Champaign City Council in mid-term. In April, REALTOR® Greg Stock was appointed to finish the term of District 4 Councilwoman Marci Dodds who resigned to move out of the city. In July, REALTOR® Angie Brix was appointed to finish the term of District 3 Councilman Vic McIntosh who resigned.
Brix, a broker for Keller Williams, is a newcomer to public service. But she said some of the abilities that helped her succeed in real estate should help her as a councilwoman, including: patience, understanding and a desire to help clients make informed decisions.
“A big part of my job is serving as a resource for my clients,” said Brix, who became a REALTOR® in 2007. “I want to do the same thing for my constituents.”
Stock has been a social studies teacher at Champaign Centennial High School for more than 20 years. He is the Social Studies Department Chair and has served as a dean of students. He has served on Champaign’s Historic Preservation Commission, Fire Commission and Police Commission. He is a broker for Keller Williams in Champaign and has been a REALTOR® since 2005.
Stock says, “Being involved with the city through a couple of different commissions – and now as a member of city council – is a great way to intersect some of the experiences I’ve had working with students and families as a teacher and with clients as a REALTOR®. The dialogue keeps me informed about community issues so we can continue to make Champaign a great place.
“Even though education and real estate link me to two separate audiences, I think hearing from both helps me make better informed decisions,” he adds.
Stock and Brix have expressed a desire to run for reelection next spring.
Read the Illinois REALTORS® Blog for periodic stories about association members who serve their communities through elected office. Recent stories have included Max McComb, Chris Seniker and Mike Onorato. It’s another way the association is celebrating its 100th anniversary year. If you’d like to suggest a fellow REALTOR® for a story like this, please drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.