about me

I am a professor at the University of Illinois and have lived in West Urbana for more than ten years. I represent Ward 2 (see map) on the Urbana City Council.

I have a PhD in genetics from UC Davis. My work here has been focused on improving a bioenergy grass called Miscanthus, as one solution to address climate change. In addition to teaching, I lead large teams of people with diverse expertise to design and successfully implement large projects—experience which is applicable to a wide range of purposes.





Protect historic West Urbana

The historic architecture and the walkable, quiet, residential, tree-lined streets of West Urbana make it a great place to live and visit; it also promotes home-ownership that supports the City via taxes. I will work for zoning, Planned Unit Development regulations and Design Review Board rules that protect West Urbana from development that threatens the neighborhood.

Advocate for social justice

I stand for and value inclusivity, civility, and ensuring that Urbana is a welcoming community. Local government should promote equal opportunities and right historic wrongs.

Improve sustainability

Promote the conversion of existing buildings to renewable energy and require new construction to be net-zero. Increase availability of charging stations to facilitate ownership of electric vehicles.

Conserve and expand our urban forest

Urbana's urban forest is a treasure. In recent years, we have lost many old trees, so there is a need to plant many more replacements. I will work to increase the number of new trees planted throughout the city.

Revitalize downtown

The large areas of open parking lots and single story buildings surrounded by large lots are both a deterrent to economic growth and an opportunity for infill that can lead to economic prosperity. Redevelopment of the downtown is key to economic sustainability of the City.


Eric and Naomi Jakobsson

Former Urbana City Council member
Former U.S. Representative, 103rd District

Eric and Naomi Jakobsson "We are pleased to endorse Erik Sacks for election to the Urbana City Council to represent Ward 2. Erik has the thoughtfulness and knowledge to carefully consider the full range of issues facing Urbana—social justice, environment and sustainability, neighborhood preservation, and economic development. He has the interpersonal skills and temperament to work with others in crafting policies in all these areas."

Tina Gunsalus

Former President,
Urbana School District #116

Tina Gunsalus "Erik has been a neighbor of ours for many years. We know him to be a thoughtful, caring, committed person who will work constructively to serve our neighborhood and our city. He’s an advocate for social justice, and with his professional background in project management and sustainability, and his commitment to protecting our historic area, he will be an asset on the city council."

Carolyn Baxley

Owner, Cinema Gallery
2002 Downtown Plan Steering Committee

Carolyn Baxley "I have known Erik for years and have spoken to him numerous times about numerous issues before Council. He is an intelligent, thoughtful, fair, community-minded man who will take the job seriously and do the work necessary to represent his district. Council is an extremely time-consuming and difficult job, and we need to elect someone who has the stamina to do it well."