Professor to serve on County Board

While the Peoria County Board deals with important matters like economic development and public safety, it was trivia that led Eden Blair to participate in local politics.

She got involved with the local Democratic party through trivia night events. “I was known for having exceptional knowledge of trivial matters,” she joked.

In July, the director of curricular programs and associate professor of entrepreneurship, technology and law replaced a County Board member who moved. Her district, where she’s lived since coming to Bradley in 2007, is in the central part of the city. This is her first political office.

“I’m not looking for a career in politics but it’s a way I can help (and) I think I can do it,” she said.  “It’s important to me to help my community and support it in ways I can. And I think my background in entrepreneurship and education means I can help local business really well.” 

Blair admitted a longtime interest in politics but always saw herself more a supporter than participant. She believes the move is a win-win, offering a unique perspective to county government and bringing advantages to the classroom.

“I think (my background) helps make me knowledgeable about things the county is involved in, understanding what needs local businesses have. I’ve always found that any experience I have gives me different perspectives, different examples to give to students.”

A member of the board’s Public Safety and Infrastructure committees, she said reaction from her university colleagues has been positive and supportive.

Blair aims to ensure all groups and individuals are heard and represented at the county level and wants to bolster economic development, seeing the county’s mix of urban, suburban and rural areas as an asset.

“We’ve got amazing industry here, amazing talent,” she said. “We have some rural areas that are doing innovative stuff. Not only can Bradley provide talented graduates but we always have students in need of projects.”

Blair said the County Board has a reputation for efficiency and accomplishment and she wants to see that continue, aided by her background and skills.

 “I think data is something we should never be scared of — even if it doesn’t follow our political leanings, we need to listen to it. Whenever possible, if there’s data that says ‘these things work or don’t work,’ I want to rely on it.”

— Bob Grimson ’81

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