13 candidates want to be the 29th Ward’s next alderman

by Deborah Kadin on November 23, 2010

Thirteen people filed paperwork with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners by Monday’s deadline to run for the 29th Ward aldermanic post.

Election officials will need to process the paperwork, but barring any challenges, here’s who could appear on the Feb. 22 ballot:

Jill R. Bush, associate director of the Loretto Hospital Foundation

Sheneather “Shey” Butler, a former city employee who now runs a family hair and makeup salon

Mary Russell Gardner, secretary of the Cook County Forest Preserve District Board

Deborah L. Graham

C.B. Johnson, CEO of Campaign for a Drug Free Westside

Curtis Myles

Thomas E. Simmons, retired city employee and community activist

Eugene Greer

Bernard Cobbins Jr.

Marshall E. Hatch Sr. of West Garfield Park’s New Pilgrim Church (who ran in 2003 and garnered 19 percent of the vote)

Oddis “O.J.” Johnson

Roman Morrow

Beverly D. Rogers, a retired Chicago Police Department officer

Graham, the incumbent whom Mayor Daley appointed in March to replace Ike Carothers after he was convicted on corruption charges, on Saturday formally kicked off her campaign for a full term on the Chicago City Council, telling volunteers and local officials that she has “come home” to restore the fight in the 29th Ward.

Before a crowd of nearly 70 people, Graham said she decided to seek election to help relieve the pain in her native West side neighborhood, a community in need of better jobs, better schools, better public safety and fewer foreclosures.

Admitting the contest would be a challenge, Graham, who has represented the ward just eight months, added: “I’m standing with you to fight for what we want. Together we can work together to create the environment we want.”

Several Democratic Party heavyweights attended Saturday’s kick-off to show their support for the former 78th District state representative, including state Sen. Don Harmon, who represents parts of Oak Park and Austin; Rep. Camille Lilly, who replaced Graham earlier this year in the Illinois General Assembly; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Barbara McGowan; and Robin Kelly, who served in the Illinois House with Graham and ran unsuccessfully this fall for state treasurer.

Graham represented the 78th District, which includes some of the west suburbs and parts of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, in Springfield for four terms before replacing Carothers. He resigned the 29th Ward post in February after pleading guilty to bribery and tax charges. He’s serving a 28-month sentence in a federal prison in South Dakota.

Graham said she’s not running away from “the idea that I’ve been associated with Carothers. He helped me break into politics. I’m a different person (from Carothers).”

Graham noted that she would not endorse anyone in Chicago’s mayoral race; 20 candidates filed by Monday’s deadline to replace the retiring Mayor Daley.

Other candidates already kicked off their campaigns, including Simmons and Butler. Bush said she plans to officially start her campaign at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at her headquarters, 5835 W. Madison St.

Efforts to reach the other candidates for comment were unsuccessful.

The deadline for filing objections to the 13 candidates’ petitions is Nov. 30, and the names of the candidates will be certified on Dec. 23. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes Feb. 22, a runoff between the highest and second-highest vote getters will be held April 5.

austintalks.org@gmail.com

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kyle November 24, 2010 at 12:39 am

Not to destroy Anyones dream but why is it only in the AFRICAN American community do we get huge political race candidates?
I would love to challenge some of their knowledge on Goverment!
If they were so concerned with the community, why didn’t these same people show their concerns for their wards before now?
It appears that some are only looking for a paycheck.
How would they conduct themselves among leaders in city hall?
Why not let your experience speak for your candidacy?
We need leaders with knowledge, some idea of how government is run and a master plan.
5 to 9 hopefuls us Sad!
It is not healthy.
It is why our black council people have so little seniority and major committee chairmanships compared to white aldermen.

2 fed up in chicago November 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I live in the 29th ward and Debra Graham is involved with the community and has done an outstanding job since becoming the alderman for the community. She has accomplished more in 8 months than Carothers did in his entire tenure. She is involved, intelligent, articulate and a class act.

3 frank brim November 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

I have nothing against Alderman Graham, but if she would allow the likes of former Alderman Carothers to train her or share information on city government practices, she is not capable of improving the 29th ward. Her character and integrity is in question just because of the association and the crooked tutor.

4 Donald Bell November 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I just want to know why there are so many candidates running for the alderman seat in the 29th ward. All this bitterness and point the fingers at Debra Graham. What make those candidates especially those who was on the ballot before think they can win this. I don’t see where none of them has proven anything in the 10 years since Mr. Carouthers ran 10 years ago with some on the same names. There needs to be some debates, and come out to the community to address your issues, and why do some of these candidates feel they are qualified. Are they any qualifications besides popularity. I know some names that is on the list should be remove due to hidden agenda’s and skeltons. Stop trying to play politics with the street games and mind games. We the people are tired of these same people who grew up in the neighborhood think this is what can be done. Think again!

5 Bernard Rost January 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I live in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood – 2800 North on Austin.
Some years ago I suddenly learned that my address was redistricted to the west side Austin neighborhood ward. I thought that was rediculous. I have no interest in the candidates who are running for alderman of the west side Austin neighborhood. I probably will not vote for any alderman.

6 Chris February 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I also was re-districted, from the same area as Bernard. We are in a forgotten part of the ward, one not cared about at all. Snow removal? What’s that? Precinct captain? Apparently we don’t need one. What we DO need is to belong to the ward we were in for all of those years. I have never been this upset with any aldermen in my life as I have been since the re-districting.

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