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One of Champaign County’s most contested primaries is for coroner

The incumbent for Champaign County coroner, Steve Thuney, explains his office to Urbana High School students on Thursday, March 7.

Two Democrats and one Republican are vying for the job of coroner in Champagin County during Tuesday’s primary election.

The county coroner investigates and provides deaths certificates for overdoses, murders, and other unexpected deaths.

“We’re a pretty busy office. We do about 1,800 to 2,000 deaths a year, divided amongst [five employees],” said incumbent Steve Thuney.

All three of the candidates visited Urbana High School recently to make their case to young voters.

Thuney, a Republican, has been in the role since November when the last coroner resigned. He’s worked in the office since 2010 and wants voters to think about experience instead of party.

Democrat Laurie Brauer also works in the office. While the coroner does not need medical expertise, she’s been an emergency medical technician at Carle Hospital. She wants to do more public outreach if elected.

“I’ve been talking to the community and getting those numbers out there about the issues that we have in town with drug issues, suicides, violence,” Brauer said. 

Fellow Democrat Seon Williams owns a funeral home and previously owned a barbershop. He‘s passionate about preventing gun violence through education.

“Young people that came to me to get a haircut in the barbershop. I’m starting to bury those boys, because of the same things I experienced, like peer pressure, just being around the wrong people at the wrong time,” Williams said. 

Since Thuney is unopposed, he will take on the winner between Williams and Brauer in November’s general election.

The Champaign County coroner term lasts four years.

Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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