Born and raised in Bloomington, Chris Koos is the middle child of five. He attended Central Catholic High School and delivered newspapers for The Pantagraph. As a Boy Scout, Chris developed a love of the outdoors. Very early on, he also discovered a love for riding his bicycle.
Chris feels a deep sense of responsibility toward his community—to the neighbors he’s grown up alongside and the new neighbors he regularly welcomes to Normal.
At 72, a bicycle is still his preferred mode of transportation to and from work, though Chris now rides to City Hall instead of tossing newspapers onto doorsteps.
Chris, a Veteran
In 1968, while attending Illinois State University, Chris received a life-changing phone call asking him to leave school to report for duty. Drafted into the United States Army just five days before his twentieth birthday, Chris left home for the first and only time and reported for basic training in Kentucky. One year later, he celebrated his twenty-first birthday as an officer candidate. He ended his tenure with the Army as a First Lieutenant.
In late August 1970, Chris set foot in Vietnam. He was an infantry platoon leader, and his platoon followed the Battle of Firebase Ripcord. He and his fellow soldiers worked in the mountains along the A Sầu Valley, once remaining in the field for fourteen weeks straight to work reconnaissance missions for their division. As a leader, Chris’s job was to keep his people safe and alive.
The time Chris spent in Vietnam changed him forever. He often reflects on his service, the lives lost, and the scenes he witnessed. Chris uses his experience as a Vietnam veteran to inform his service as Mayor of Normal. He does not take the weighty responsibility of leadership lightly.
Chris, a Small Business Owner
Shortly after Chris left the military, he decided to further pursue his interest in cycling. He started working at Vitesse Cycle Shop in 1978, when the store was owned by four partners. One by one, Chris bought out each of the partners and by 1992, Chris was the sole owner of Vitesse. In 1995, Chris capitalized upon an opportunity to relocate the store from its original location next to Pub II, to its current home on Linden St.
Chris views his bike shop as a community staple. He works tirelessly to serve the cycling and running communities in and around Normal, sponsoring races and clubs, as well as hosting races and events for the community.
As a small business owner of nearly forty years, Chris knows firsthand the value of hard work and is constantly learning and evolving to meet the demands of an ever-changing consumer He knows that to be successful, he has to pitch in at all levels from top to bottom. Chris understands finances and how to make ends meet. He knows the stress of looming potential failures. Chris knows how important it is to support employees, and how challenging it can be to provide for them.
Chris, Your Mayor
Chris was first elected to office in 2001 when he ran for Town Council. He won with the most votes in a field of six candidates. Two years later, Chris was appointed by the Town Council to fill the mayor’s position when then Mayor Karraker resigned. Since then, he has worked diligently to serve the people of Normal.
One of his most noteworthy accomplishments as mayor is the redevelopment of Uptown Normal. The project was started by Kent Karraker, though Chris was a member of the committee responsible for coming up with the master plan for Uptown. Since Chris was elected, the town of Normal has grown and beautified, becoming the envy of the Midwest and one of the best places (if not the best place) to live in Illinois. And if elected again on April 6, 2021 Chris plans to continue the second phase of Uptown redevelopment.
Chris has been in office a long time, and his experience is just what Normal needs right now. Chris knows the community. He understands the local government. Chris has the leadership and expertise to lead Normal through this pandemic and begin the long road to economic recovery, stability and growth. With Chris at City Hall, Normalites can rest easy knowing that we will come out on the other side of this time of uncertainty, stronger than before.