By ALLISON MATYUS
Before the Feb. 28 special election, the candidates are going up against each other at various forums throughout the ward to educate voters on where they stand on the most pressing issues.
On Monday, Feb. 20, the South Side branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will be holding a forum at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., starting at 7 p.m.
Paula Saindon, the third vice-president and chairwoman of the Political Action Committee at the NAACP South Side branch, said that this particular election is especially important.
“We think it’s important because we don’t want people to feel like they have to go with the status quo,” she said. “We want people to know that it’s important for there to be competition because we want people to come and hear different points of view.”
She said that while the 4th Ward does not fall inside the organization’s headquarters at 1050 S. Western Ave., the ward resides within the NAACP’s geographic jurisdiction.
The NAACP has reached out to all five of the candidates and so far, Ebony Lucas, Gregory Livingston and Gerald Scott McCarthy are confirmed to be in attendance. Saindon said she has not received confirmation from Ald. Sophia King (4th) or from Marcellus H. Moore, Jr.
“We sent each candidate a questionnaire of ten questions for them to send back to us by Feb. 13,” she said. “We will review their answers and have them ready for the constituents who attend the forum.”
The special election is off-season for the election cycle, since former Alderman Will Burns suddenly announced his resignation last February. Saindon said she hopes the forum will help educate voters on whoever wins the important role.
“Your alderman is your immediate local legislator, so they speak to issues more so of day-to-day living,” she said.
Saindon said that the organization will not endorse a candidate.
Other upcoming forums include a Thursday, Feb. 16 forum beginning at 6 p.m. at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, 600 E. 35th St., which is hosted by People United for Action, and a Tuesday, Feb. 21 forum beginning at 6 p.m. being held at Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lake Park Ave., hosted by the Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative.
The special election will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 28. If necessary, a run-off election will be held on Tuesday, April 4.