By Bob Uphues
Voters in the 4th Congressional District – which includes all of Riverside except the very southern tip of the First Division, all of North Riverside east of 13th Avenue and most of Brookfield north of Southview Avenue – can get an up-close-and-personal glimpse at the three Democrats running in the March 20 primary at a pair of upcoming candidate forums.
Indivisible West Suburban Action League, Indivisible Berwyn and Indivisible Brookfield will co-host a forum on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road in Riverside.
All three candidates on the Democratic primary ballot, Sol Flores, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Richard Gonzalez will appear at the event, which is being moderated by Politico senior reporter Natasha Korecki. Questions will range from immigration to gun control.
The three candidates are vying to be the Democratic nominee in the 4th District, which for the past 25 years has been represented by Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside became part of the 4th District after the boundaries were redrawn in 2011.
Last fall, Gutierrez announced he was retiring from Congress, setting off a stampede of candidates filing nominating petitions to run. Eight Democrats and four Republicans filed to run in the primaries, but through withdrawals and successful petition challenges, the Democratic field is down to three candidates.
Flores is the founder of La Casa Norte, which provides services to families and children facing homelessness. Gonzalez is a Chicago police sergeant, while Garcia is a Cook County commissioner who has been endorsed by Gutierrez.
The lone Republican candidate remaining in that primary race is Riverside resident Mark Lorch, an investment banker and political novice. He will not appear at the forum, which is for the competitive Democratic race.
Anyone unable to make it to this week's event in Riverside can attend a forum featuring Garcia and Flores on Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Town of Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Ave.
The Feb. 26 forum is being hosted by the League of Women Voters of the LaGrange Area and Chicago.
Candidates will make brief presentations on their backgrounds and qualifications and then answer questions submitted by the audience and League of Women Voters. Questions can be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3rd District forum Feb. 21
Landmark area readers who live in the sprawling 3rd Congressional District, which includes Brookfield south of Southview Avenue and the southern tip of Riverside's First Division, can attend a forum that will feature the two candidates facing off in the March 20 Democratic primary.
The League of Women Voters of the LaGrange Area, Palos-Orland Area and Chicago will host incumbent Congressman Daniel Lipinski and challenger Marie Newman on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway in Palos Hills (Building M, Moraine Room #2).
After making brief presentations, candidates will answer questions from the audience submitted to the moderator. Advance questions can be submitted to email@example.com.
State rep forum in 24th District
Meanwhile, the Brookfield Democratic Organization will host a candidate forum for the only contested state house primary race on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Lyons Public Library, 4209 Joliet Ave.
The forum will feature the two candidates running for the seat up for grabs in the 24th District of the Illinois House, incumbent Democrat Elizabeth "Lisa" Hernandez and Robert Reyes.
The 24th District includes a sliver of Riverside between Herrick Road and the BNSF tracks, the Hollywood section of Brookfield and the area of Brookfield bounded by Fairview Avenue, Shields Avenue, Custer Avenue and Deyo Avenue.
Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Brookfield.firstname.lastname@example.org.