POLITICS YEAR IN REVIEW 2017

ALDERMAN SOPHIA KING ELECTION VICTORY IN THE 4TH WARD

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) announced in September that she would not run for re-election in 2018. – Herald file photo

By Joseph Phillips
Staff Writer

Ald. Sophia King wins 4th Ward special election

This year in politics started off with a win for Ald. Sophia King (4th) who was officially elected 4th Ward Alderman Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed King as Interim Alderman of the 4th Ward in 2016, when the ward’s previous alderman Will Burns stepped down abruptly to take a position in the private sector at Airbnb.

King during her election speech at Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St., she called her win “a victory for the community.”

King received 4,286 votes, (just over 63 percent), while candidates Ebony D. Lucas finished with 1,179 votes (17.5 percent), Marcellus H. Moore, Jr. 410 votes (6 percent), Gregory Seal Livingston 440 votes (6.5 percent) and Gerald Scott McCarthy 406 votes (6 percent).

In her victory speech in February, King recognized the other candidates and thanked them for stepping up to run for office.

“These four and all the volunteers and supporters are public, spirited and deserve our appreciation for their willingness to step up,” King said in a past issue of the Herald. “This is not an easy thing to do to put yourself in the public eye.”

During her speech, King also thanked her family, supporters, state, federal, and local officials, in addition to the community for standing alongside her on the journey. King also discussed the challenges she would face lying ahead in the 4th Ward. Which included safety and education.

In addition to her speech, King also acknowledged her endorsement from former President Barack Obama. Who would endorse King back in January in his first political act since leaving the White House, according to a past issue of the Herald.

King also gave thanks to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s for her guidance on helping her throughout the campaign trail.

“I will never forget how you took me under your wings and showed me what it was really like to serve the public,” King said.

She also thanked Emanuel, for selecting her as interim alderman, and her husband Alan King and her eldest and youngest daughters.

Following her election speech, opponents Lucas, Moore, Livingston and McCarthy also responded to King’s victory.

Not wanting to jump the gun, Lucas waited for the full results from the 4th Ward Special Election before conceding the race.

They were not to her liking, according to a past issue of the Herald. It was reported that a little after nine o’clock on Feb. 28, the word came in that King had triumphed.

Lucas huddled with staffers for some moments in a corner then called all in attendance together.

Lucan told the crowd that evening, “she was proud of all the hard work they put into the campaign.”
 
Lucas said in a past issue of the Herald that the aldermanic election was “a person versus the machine” battle.

“The machine suppressed the vote,” Lucas said. “You can’t allow your votes to be suppressed.  It’s so powerful.”

Lucas also said low voter turnout was also a factor.

“I hope that in the 4th Ward in future races we will see better.” Lucas said. “No matter who you support, you have to vote. ”

Livingston said in a past issue of the Herald, he was also disappointed in the results but hoped that King served the 4th Ward well.

“We thought we had a strong message, a strong method and a strong strategy,” Livingston said.

Despite his disappointment, Livingston congratulated King and said, “I hope she will do the best job for the 4th Ward.”

In addition to Livingston, McCarthy said his focus in the next election would be to improve voters turnout in the future.

“What I discovered was that 87 percent of the people did not get out and vote,” said McCarthy, who said he spent the day visiting as many precincts as he could.

Although he didn’t win the election, McCarthy said the thing he enjoyed the most about running for alderman “was that he met so many people who were compassionate and concerned about their ward.”

BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE RETIRES AFTER NEARLY 40 YEARS IN THE LEGISLATURE

Elected officials commend retiring State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie for her years of legislative service

After nearly 40 years in the legislature, State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) announced on September 15, that she would conclude her legislative career at the end of the 100th General Assembly in January 2019.

Currie explained during her announcement that she would not run for office next term after serving Chicago communities of the Woodlawn, South Shore, Hyde Park, Kenwood, and South Chicago area for 38 years.

“I’m not planning to re-up for re-election in 2018 but I do plan to finish out my current term,” Currie told the Hyde Park Herald. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the legislature and will continue to pursue progressive policies in education, social welfare and criminal justice in other venues.”

Although she would release a formal announcement on that Friday, Sept. 15, word of her retirement was publicized that prior Thursday. And shortly after the announcements, Mayor Rahm Emanuel would release a statement.

“Barbara Flynn Currie is one of a kind,” Emanuel said in a written statement. “Someone whose intelligence and command of a wide range of public policy issues is matched only by her decency. On behalf of a grateful city, I wish Barbara nothing but the best in her well-earned retirement.”

Emanuel said throughout Currie’s career, she has been a passionate advocate for the people of Chicago and the state of Illinois. He commended her for shattering glass ceilings after blazing a trail for countless others.

“From fighting to raise the minimum wage, to expanding access to early childhood education, to advocating for common sense gun laws, Leader Currie has been a voice for the voiceless and a steady champion for the most vulnerable among us,” Emanuel said.

Currie, a Hyde Park resident, was elected in 1979 and is the state’s longest-serving woman in the Illinois General Assembly. She is also the first woman to serve as majority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives and a top lieutenant to House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Currie told the Herald that although she is retiring, she has no immediate plans to leave her Hyde Park home, where her and her late husband David P. Currie, a law professor at the University of Chicago, raised two wonderful children and four grandchildren.

CANDIDATES VYING FOR CURRIE’S SEAT OF THE 25TH HOUSE DISTRICT

ANNE MARIE MILES

Anne Marie Miles, a South Shore resident and community activist, was the first to announce that she would run for Currie’s seat for State Representative of the 25th District. Miles announcement came after Currie made her decision to step down back in early September.

The areas will include Woodlawn, South Shore, Hyde Park, Kenwood, and South Chicago.

Miles said in a past issue of the Herald, that prior to running for public office, she saw a need to assist people with criminal convictions without getting a second chance.

She said after seeing a need to help those who had criminal convictions, it motivated her to volunteer her services with the Cabrini Green Legal Aid organization. Miles would assist with both the sealing and expungements of criminal records. Alongside working with members of the Union League Club to raise public awareness of the issues.

Miles is a wife and mother, with three adult children, and is currently on the board of the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago.

CURTIS TARVER II

Tarver announces run for 25th House District

Attorney Curtis Tarver II, a business owner and resident of North Kenwood, made his announcement on Monday, Oct. 23, that he would run in the 2018 Democratic Primary for State Representative of Illinois’ 25th House District.

The announcement was made at Tarver’s campaign kick-off fundraiser, held at Vice District Brewing Company, 1454 S. Michigan Ave., in October, a company Tarver co founded.

“Our petitions are ready to go,” said Tarver in a past issue of the Herald. “We have volunteers and we are already making calls and knocking on doors. We’ve met with elected officials to discuss the campaign. We’re all in.”

Since entering the race on Sept. 28, Tarver said he has curently raised more than $48,000 dollars in campaign funding and has continued to bring in approximately $1,000 dollars in total per day, according to his campaign statement.

Tarver said he is currently positioning himself to lead the race for the open 25th District seat, and that over the years, he has invested his time in the community as a mentor for the Big Shoulders Fund organization, Depaul USA an organization that help’s combat homelessness and housing injustice, and is a current business owner of the first African-American owned licensed brewery in the state of Illinois.

Tarver is both a graduate of Iowa State University (B.S.) and the University of Iowa Law School (J.D.).

ANA GUAJARDO CARRILLO

Carrillo announces run for 25th House District

Ana Guajardo Carrillo, a community leader and non-profit executive on Chicago’s Southeast Side, announced she would run for the 2018 Democratic Primary for State Representative of Illinois’ 25th District seat back in November.

Carrillo, who was endorsed by Ald. Sadlowski-Garza of the (10th), made her announcement at Gorditas Loli’s Mexican Restaurant, 3522 E. 106th St.

According to her statement, Carrillo was born and raised in South Chicago. Her father was a union steelworker who moved the family to the area to work in the steel mills of the early 1970s.

Carrillo said that most of her work experiences were with labor unions in Indianapolis for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 3 as an organizer with the Justice for Janitors Campaign back in 2004.

In addition to her work experience with the SEIU, Carrillo also worked as a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), organizing state and federal policy in the 3rd congressional district as she oversaw a team of five fellows that registered over 6,000 Southside residents to vote during the 2008 presidential elections.

ADRIENNE IRMER

Adrienne Irmer to run for 25th House District seat

Southside resident Adrienne Irmer hosted a campaign kick-off fundraiser at Litehouse Whole Food Grill, 1660 E. 55th St., on Thursday night Nov. 16, to publicly announce her run for State Representative of the 25th District of Illinois.

“I’m running for office because I love the people of Illinois,” Irmer said. “Dr. [Cornel] West said, paraphrasing, you have to love the people if you are going to lead the people and if you ever think you are going to save some people you have to serve some people first.”

Irmer received strong endorsements from Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and her mother Peri Irmer, president and chief executive officer of the
DuSable Museum.

” What I see in this young lady here and what I have heard from her is the…fire in the belly to get things done,” Hairston said. “[And] to understand and learn how things work and not be fooled and not be tricked into falling for the same ole same ole. This young lady…has proven to me that she has the commitment to go down to Springfield.”

Hairston told Irmer, “You will be filling a void of almost 40 years, bringing new ideas and we welcome that and all I ask of you is that you continue to do your best to represent everybody and I know you can do it so I’m “All In For Adrienne.”

Irmer, who said she’s spent her entire adult life in the field of service, said if elected she would go down to Springfield, Ill., to fight for the communities of the 25th District that haven’t had a voice for “way too long.”

CHAN MCKIBBEN

Chan McKibben to run for 25th House District

Grace Chan McKibben announced on Monday, Nov. 20, that she would run for the 2018 Democratic Primary seat for State Representative of Illinois’ 25th House District.

Chan McKibben, activist, leader and Hyde Park resident, announcement was made on her website after hosting a campaign kick-off fundraiser at Lee Wing Wah Restaurant, 2147 S. China Place, in Chinatown on Saturday, Nov. 18.

“As a working mother, I understand the struggles working families face,” Chan McKibben said. “My husband and I have lived in the 25th district for over 30 years and have raised four children through the public school system. Throughout my career, I have been known as someone who builds bridges across different communities, who is competent and focused, and who gets things done.”

According to her bio, Chan McKibben formerly served as associate dean of students at the University of Chicago from 1998 to 2003; served in government as chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Employment Security from 2003 to 2005; and was known as a strong community leader in the Asian community after serving six years as deputy director at Chinese American Service League from 2009 through 2014.

Chan McKibben also served as a singer and board secretary of the choir Le Cantanti de Chicago, a city-wide choir that rehearses at the Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave., made up of an organization composed of women of many backgrounds and nationalities.

In addition to her singing and board secretary positions, Chan McKibben co-founded the Chinatown Pro Bono Legal Clinic back in April 2010 and currently serves on both the national and Illinois boards of the American Civil Liberties Union.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 26, Anne Marie Miles, Curtis Tarver II, Adrienne Irmer, Ana Guajardo Carrillo, Chan McKibben, Angelique Collins, Ebonie Davis, Flynn Rush, and William Calloway have all announced that they will run in the 2018 Democratic Primary election for the 25th district seat.

THE 2018 DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL RACE

Candidates Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy would all pitch their hats in the 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Race in both the Summer and Fall of 2017.

DANIEL BISS

Biss made his announcement at an Indivisible Chicago-South Side monthly meeting held on Tuesday, July 11, at First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.

During the meeting, Bliss shared his views on how state matters could be improved and answered questions.

“Our flat tax system has made it impossible to fairly tax the rich [and] to adequately fund [our] schools,” Biss said, about the current conditions of the state of Illinois tax system.

He said Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies have unfortunately failed Illinois citizens. He explained that if Rauner continues his trend of favoring machine politics and the ultra-wealthy elite over regular working middle-class citizens, the state would remain behind.

Biss said if elected governor he would implement three strategies:

He said the first thing he would do is make sure all billionaires in the state of Illinois pay their fair share of taxes.

“Taxes in the state of Illinois aren’t fair to middle-class families,” Biss said. “We need a fairer tax system, where wealthy people will pay a fair amount.”

He said the second thing he would do is break up the political machine.

“Everything from a corrupt property tax system to updated campaign finance laws has favored the wealthy elite, which has allowed them to stay in power [for years],” Biss said.

Biss said the third thing he would do is “Fight for the state’s economic future and do away with politics that favor insiders and the ultra-wealthy.”

During the question and answer segment of the meeting, Biss answered several questions about the passing of the new state budget.

“We must balance our budget, and we must no longer do it on the backs of working families,” Biss said. “As a mathematician, I’ve spent my career solving complex problems—but let me tell you, our budget isn’t one. The people who make the most money don’t pay enough, and, instead, force the rest of us to make up the difference. And if the ultra-wealthy continue to control the system, it will not change.”

CHRIS KENNEDY

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy speaks at 5th Ward meeting

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy was the guest speaker at the 5th Ward monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10.

The meeting was hosted by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) at Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave.

During the meeting, which had about 40 attendees, Kennedy shared his three strategies he would like to implement for Illinois citizens if elected governor.

Kennedy said the first thing he would do is rebuild the state’s education system.

“Where do we rank in the state of Illinois in education? We are massively behind Massachusetts and Minneapolis who are the standard,” Kennedy said.

He said the second thing he would do is keep the city safe. He explained that those living in impoverished areas need more opportunities to obtain entry-level jobs with high wages so that they could take care of their family, better education, and a stronger police force. He believes that this solution could help quell some of the violence in Chicago.

Kennedy said the third thing he would do is fight for the state’s economic future.

“We need a capital budget, we need a capital plan,” Kennedy said. “In Cook County some homes have been over accessed because of over taxing and corruption.”

Kennedy said his goal is not only to implement his three strategies for Illinois residents but also expose Democratic Party insiders who profit from the property tax appeals system. He said he would prohibit elected officials from simultaneously having jobs as property tax appeal lawyers.

J.B. PRITZKER

In September, Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker would also speak at Indivisible Chicago-South Side’s monthly meeting at First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.

During the meeting, which had about 140 attendees, Pritzker shared his views on how state matters could be improved and answered questions.

“I’m running for governor because everything I care about is under siege by Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump,” Pritzker said. “The state is facing enormous challenges and we need a governor who thinks big and gets real results.”

Pritzker who will run against State Sen. Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy in the upcoming 2018 Democratic Party primary election for governor March, shared his vision for the state of Illinois which he said includes, restoring fiscal sanity and having a balanced state budget, the importance of setting children up for success from the cradle to career, restoring and rebuilding the state’s social services, the importance of investing in community’s and economic development and protecting health care.

4th, 5th WARD RESIDENTS TO RUN IN 2018 ILLINOIS PRIMARY ELECTION

Candidates running in the upcoming 2018 Illinois Primary Election included a large number of 4th and 5th ward residents.

State Sen. Kwame (D-13) announced back in October that he will run for Attorney General. After Cook County Commissioner Jerry Butler announced he would step down from the 3rd District Cook County Commissioner seat, Bill Lowry announced he would run for the vacant seat left by Butler.

In addition to the other candidates announcing their run from the 4th and 5th ward, Kim Du Buclet announced that she would run also for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and Judge H. Yvonne Coleman announced that she would run for 5th Judicial
Sub-Circuit Court after being appointed to the seat back in March.

State Sen. (D-13) Kwame Raoul

State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13), a Hyde Park resident, announced on Wednesday, Sept. 20, that he would run for the State of Illinois
Attorney General seat.

The seat became available after Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she would not run again in the upcoming 2018 Illinois Primary election.

“I’m running for Attorney General because our justice system must be blind; not a scheme that protects a privileged few,” Raoul said in a written statement. “As Illinois’ top prosecutor, the institutor of justice in our state, we cannot allow the political gamesmanship of Springfield to pervade our legal system.”

Raoul is entering his 13th year as Illinois State Senator. His district includes both the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods.

Raoul took office after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He is the current chair of the Illinois Senate’s Redistricting Committee and the Senate’s Pension & Investments Committee.

The term for the State Senator seat for District 13 expires in 2020. With the primary election being held on March 20, 2018, and the general election for Illinois State Senator being held on Nov. 6, 2018, Raoul will not have to step down from his current seat as State Senator.

Bill Lowry

Bill Lowry, attorney and Hyde Park resident, formally announced his candidacy for Cook County Commissioner of the 3rd District at Gallery Guichard, in Bronzeville on Wednesday Sept. 27, after Jerry “Iceman” Butler, announced that he would not run for another term.

The 3rd District includes the Gold Coast, Prairie Shores, Old Town, Printers Row, Soldier Field, Museum of Science & Industry, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Oakland, North Kenwood, South Side, Hyde Park, Washington Park, Jackson Park and Greater Grand Crossing.

Lowry is a named partner and president of Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, P.C., a full-service defense firm that handles multi-state civil litigation, in addition to Workers’ Compensation and employment.

The firm has currently employed over 50 attorneys and 100 employees.

He is also the founder and president of The It’s Time Organization (TITO), an anti-violence organization addressing youth violence in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards.

During his announcement at the gallery, Lowry spoke about economic development, health care and the criminal justice system.

“We don’t have a violence problem, we have an economic problem,” Lowry said. “We must develop strategies to keep our children out of the criminal justice system, while also creating new opportunities for our returning citizens, as without such opportunities, the epidemic of recidivism will only continue.”

Lowry said, “If elected, I will work to ensure that health care is available for everyone in the 3rd District for our children, for our Medicaid recipients and for our seniors.”

Early in his candidacy, Lowry has already amassed a long list of endorsements from elected officials that include Raoul, State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-17), State Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-27), Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers, Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) and Commissioner Larry Rogers, Jr., Cook County Board of Review.

Kim Du Buclet

Kim Du Buclet, former State Representative for the 26th District, which includes Hyde Park, announced that she is running for the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in 2018.

Du Buclet represented the 26th District from 2011 to 2013. She was appointed to her seat in May 2011 after former incumbent Will Burns stepped down as District 26 representative to become Alderman of the 4th Ward. She decided not to run for the State Representative seat, which is currently held by State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26).

During her time as State Representative, Du Buclet’s committee assignments included Health Care Availability Access, Small Business Empowerment & Workforce, Higher Education, Appropriations-Human Services, Health & Healthcare Disparities, and Tourism & Conventions.

Judge H. Yvonne Coleman

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Loop Practioner and Hyde Park resident Judge H. Yvonne Coleman to the 5th Subcircuit court in March 2017 after a vacancy created by recently retired judge Patricia Banks.

Coleman announced that she will run for the seat once her appointment expires on Dec. 3, 2018.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Coleman concentrated her practice in employment and civil rights litigation, workplace investigations, and mediation. She previously served as Bureau Chief of the Civil Rights and Disability Rights Bureaus in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, and as Manager and Chief Hearing Officer, Appeals Division, with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Coleman also served as General Counsel with the City of Chicago Independent Police Review Authority.

Coleman has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1988. She filed for a countywide vacancy in the 2014 Primary, but withdrew from that race. She also filed for a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2016 election cycle, but withdrew from that race also.

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMITTEE FINALIZES VOTE TO NIX SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX

After voting 15-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 10, following a nearly four-hour session, the Cook County Board Committee finalized its vote to repeal the sweetened beverage tax with a 15 – 2 vote, on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said it is now up to Cook County Commissioners to decide how to fill the $200 million gap in the $5.4 billion budget.

“Today the board exercised its collective will and set in motion a repeal of the sweetened beverage tax we approved last year,” Preckwinkle said. “As I outlined last week, it is up to the commissioners to choose our direction on revenue, and I respect their authority to do so. Now, together, we must chart a new course toward the eighth consecutive balanced budget of my tenure as board president.”

The sweetened beverage tax officially ended on Dec. 1, 2017.

j.phillips@hpherald.com