Party officials being urged to pick Chicagoan to replace Commissioner Johnson

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David Cherry, president of The Leaders Network, is organizing a major demonstration to persuade Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and other select Democratic party officials who will be filling Mayor Brandon Johnson’s vacant seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners to select another West Side resident.

Organizers are planning an event for Tuesday amid speculation that party officials are heavily considering filling Johnson’s seat with a west suburban resident rather than a Chicago resident.

“As we congratulate Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson as he takes the oath of office to become Chicago’s 57th mayor, those of us on the West Side may feel the void that could be left on the Cook County Board of Commissioners,” Cherry said in a statement.

As the West Side celebrates Monday the inauguration of Johnson, an Austin resident, Cherry and other residents say it “would be a crime if his replacement were picked from somewhere other than the West Side.”

The historical disinvestment of West Side communities by previous mayoral administrations has resulted in the most poorly performing public schools, limited options in health care, a high rate of violent crime, the fewest choices in banking and the most food deserts.

Since being elected to the Cook County Board in 2018. Johnson’s advocacy for West Side communities had begun to reverse the shameful policies and harm done by decades of neglect, Cherry said. It’s now more imperative to the progress he has worked so hard to achieve to appoint someone from the West Side to fill his seat, Cherry said.

Some of the “extraordinary” West Side leaders ready to serve as 1st District commissioner include Rev. Ira Acree, Marshall Hatch Jr., Zerlina Smith-Members, Tara Stamps and Claiborne Wade. Each has already established themselves in improving the lives of people on the West Side, Cherry said – and they all have pledged to partner with Mayor Johnson to finally fulfill the hopes and dreams of West Side residents.

The Austin Weekly News recently reported that Acree has secured the support of Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th). They serve as their wards’ respective committeepersons and hold 10.98% and 13.13% of the possible votes, while Harmon, who serves as Oak Park Township committeeman, and Karen Yarbrough, the Proviso Township committeewoman, control a narrow majority of the votes needed to make the appointment.

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