With the filing period over as of Monday, campaigning can begin for local municipal races that will be decided in the April 4 consolidated elections.
The mayoral races in Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge and Worth are contested, and promise to be among the most interesting ones to watch.
In Oak Lawn, Mayor Sandra Bury is running against longtime Trustee Robert Streit, who is aiming to deny her bid for a second term. Both are running as independents, as are all the Oak Lawn candidates this time around.
An optometrist who owns Complete Vision Care in the village, Bury beat incumbent Dave Heilmann in 2013, and said she has delivered on her promises of increased transparency, getting fair share payments from Advocate Christ Medical Center in lieu of taxes, and economic development.
"It has been an incredible privilege to serve the community I love as mayor. These past four years have gone by very quickly, and there is much more work to be done," Bury said in a statement. "We have a great team in place."
She said her team negotiated a historic $3.2 million payment from Advocate Christ Medical Center, grew the economy, made job creation a priority, eliminated pensions for part-time employees, and adopted a policy for paying down debt, funding pensions and maintaining infrastructure. The recently passed budget lowers the tax levy for the fourth consecutive year.
Streit, who has represented the 3rd District since 1991, promises to increase police patrols and staffing of the fire department. He also wants to “repair the damage done” by the privatization of the village’s 911 center, which he claims endangered public safety.
“I believe Oak Lawn residents want a village government that is on their side -- that addresses the concerns that matter most to them and their families. We can make Oak Lawn safer, more accountable to taxpayers, more open and transparent. This administration has done a lot of damage to all aspects of our local government,” he said.
Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan is running unopposed for re-election.
In the 2nd District, incumbent Trustee Alex Olejniczak is running against Glenn Schessler; and in the 4th District, incumbent Terry Vorderer is being challenged by John Koss. Trustee Mike Carberry (6th) isn’t running for re-election, so that seat will be filled by either Thomas Phelan, who preceded him, or newcomer Jozettemarie Palermo.
There are also three candidates running for three seats on the Oak Lawn Library Board of Trustees: incumbents Joan Buschbach and Joseph A. Skibinski, and newcomer Susan Whisson are the candidates.
In Chicago Ridge, Mayor Chuck Tokar is being challenged by two trustees, Frances Coglianese and Sally Durkin. Three trustee seats and the village clerk office are also up for election.
Coglianese heads the Results Now Party slate of candidates, which includes incumbent Village Clerk George M. Schleyer, incumbent trustees are Amanda Cardin and Bruce Quintos, and newcomer Scott S. Schaal.
Tokar is running as an independent, as is Durkin in her bid to unseat him. Trustee candidates Deborah “Deb” Pyznarski, Edmund “Ed” Kowalski, and Lisel Kwartnik are the other independents.
Richard E. Fitzgerald is running for a two-year unexpired term on the Chicago Ridge Library Board of Trustees.
In Worth, Mayor Mary Werner is being challenged in her bid for re-election by Randy Keller, who lost to her four years ago.
Village Clerk Bonnie Price is running opposed, and four people are running for the three trustee seats up for election. These include incumbents Rich Dziedzic and Tedd Muersch Jr. Newcomers Brad Urban and Bahira Karima are also running. Incumbent Trustee Colleen McEvoy is stepping down.
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton is running unopposed, along with Village Clerk Cathy Aparo.
Evergreen Park trustees Carol Kyle and Mark T. Phelan are running for re-election, while Norm Anderson is running for the seat being left vacant by Dan McKeown, who decided to step down.
In Palos Hills, Mayor Gerald Bennett is running unopposed, along with City Clerk Rudy Mulderink and Treasurer Kenneth Nolan. Incumbent 1st District Ald. John Knox is also unopposed, while incumbent Alde. Mark Brackmann is being challenged by Paul Gellert. Ald. AJ Pacek (3rd) is also being challenged for re-election by Richard C. Riley.