Sociology alum runs for Bloomington City Council
Kelby Cumpston, a sociology alum from 2013 and resident of Bloomington’s west side, recently ran as a Bloomington City Council candidate representing Ward 7 against Mollie Ward. The driving support behind his campaign and three other joint candidates was the newly formulated and progressive People’s First Coalition. A first of its kind in this area, the coalition’s mission was to work together to procure backing so that as a team, the candidates could more ably work together toward a shared vision for Bloomington. Although the coalition was not successful this year, their vision is not lost. Following the election, Cumpston released a statement to the media: “Running as a slate of progressive candidates was risky, but I’m so proud of what we were able to accomplish. The fact that Ward 7 had two social justice-oriented candidates on the ballot reflects the values of the ward.”
Cumpston, originally from Bloomington, has always been interested in this community but started really giving back when he began as freshman at Illinois State in 2008. While a student of sociology, he became aware of “class consciousness” and took part in several efforts to work for equality and reformation in the community. One such experience was “Occupy BloNo,” which was done in solidarity with the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in 2011 where he and many others protested economic inequality.
Born from a sociology class project, Cumpston and another classmate organized free classes for the community. Later, Cumpston and his wife, Torii Moré (’10 anthropology), founded the Really Free Market in Bloomington to provide a service for the local community to take and donate items, completely free of charge.
His political and economic interests began in college as well. Out of persistent curiosity, he regularly read policy agendas for Bloomington City Council meetings. Many of his pursuits and interests were a direct result of his sociology and economics classes.
After attending Illinois State, Cumpston was hired as a project manager for a company that provides affordable housing via housing authorities and senior living communities. His supervisor, who coincidentally was an anthropology major, chose to hire Cumpston specifically for his sociology degree. Cumpston was recognized for his potential as a sociologist to manage people from many different backgrounds and experiences, including different minority groups and unions.
Many people questioned his education choice while in college with, “What will you do with that degree?” For Cumpston, that answer has manifested itself as someone who works as a construction manager, serves his community, and runs for a political office. Though not where one might expect, according to Cumpston, “Sociology will get you places!” We wish to thank Cumpston for his service and his commitment to his community and look forward to what the future holds for him.