Brookfield’s VIP Party took it on the chin in the race for village trustee in Brookfield, but the party’s backing was crucial in the three-way race between write-in candidates for the Brookfield Public Library Board of Trustees.
Linda Stevanovich and Frank Torres, who ran as a team and put together a campaign backed by VIP, won two of the four library trustee positions up for election on April 5.
The two write-in candidates, along with incumbent Dianne Duner and newly elected library board member Jennifer Mack Perry, will be sworn in at the village board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on May 9 at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.
After only two candidates – Duner and Perry – filed papers to run in a race with four open positions, three others rushed in to fill the void by filing as write-ins. Two of them, Torres and Josh Jones, had been thrown off the ballot in the race for village trustee. Stevanovich, a former village trustee and local political veteran, also threw her hat into the ring.
A member of the VIP Party, Stevanovich got their backing and enlisted Torres to run as a team.
“I appreciate all the effort from my friends and the VIP Party,” said Stevanovich. “The VIP Party adopting the campaign helped us with it. You need a party’s backing, support and help just to get your name out there.”
Of the three write-ins, Stevanovich was the leader with 410 votes while Torres collected 367 votes. Jones, who has said he’ll run in two years for village president, ended up with just 90 votes. Perry and Duner, who appeared on the ballot, received about 2,500 votes apiece.
The Cook County Clerk released vote totals for write-in candidates on April 20.
“When I saw [Stevanovich and Torres] teamed up, I knew I had an uphill battle being truly the lone independent,” Jones said.
Jones and a couple of helpers passed out 1,000 fliers in the three days prior to the election, but that was no match for the thousands of fliers and, finally, lawn signs that got Torres and Stevanovich crucial name recognition.
“Congrats to them,” Jones said. “Hopefully, they’ll do the library board justice.”
Despite being outgunned by a political party in the write-in battle, Jones said he still will never join one of the village’s two parties.
“I truly feel that if an independent made it as an independent on the trustee ballot, they would have been elected,” Jones said. “I think the village wants to see someone new on the ballot. … Once people see a true independent, it’ll be easier to gain support going up against a party.”
Stevanovich has experience working in libraries. For the past couple of years she has worked part time at the Darien Public Library as a youth services associate. She also spent time as a substitute teacher working in the library at Morton West High School in Berwyn.
She said that background will help her as a trustee, but added she’s “not going to micromanage.”
“I just want to make sure resources are spent the best way possible,” Stevanovich said.
Torres also acknowledged VIP’s backing, and added both he and Stevanovich made an effort to personally connect with voters prior to the election. He said their decision to team up “was kind of a mutual thing.”
“Linda and I had similar goals,” Torres said.
Torres said he’d like to help the board continue the work it’s been doing, and would like to increase programming for seniors and children with special needs.
“I want to continue the positive efforts they’ve made,” Torres said.