Cristin Evans

The Riverside Community Caucus, on Oct. 16, announced a pair of incumbents along with an advisory commission chairwoman as its endorsed candidates for Riverside trustee in next spring’s Consolidated Election.

Incumbent trustees Cristin Evans and Alex Gallegos, who were elected trustees in an uncontested race in 2019, will be seeking their second terms on the village board. The third endorsed candidate is Jill Mateo, a member of the Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission since 2014 and its chairwoman since 2017.

The endorsed candidates may choose to form a slate to streamline the process for obtaining signatures on nominating petitions, which must be filed between Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. Caucus-endorsed candidates traditionally choose to run as a slate, but they are not required to do so.

Alex Gallegos

Whether those three candidates will face any competition come next spring won’t be guaranteed until after the petition filing deadline but, so far, no other candidates have surfaced publicly.

Incumbent Trustee Edward Hannon, who was elected for his first term as part of a slate with Gallegos and Evans in 2019, has already confirmed he won’t seek a second term.

Meanwhile, the three others who sought the RCC’s endorsement this fall have told the Landmark they won’t mount independent campaigns. Michael Heneghan, Derrick Mancini and Alex Layng confirmed their intention not to run.

“I’m looking at other ways to volunteer,” said Layng, who said he would like to join one of the village’s advisory commissions. “There are tons of different opportunities in Riverside. I’m stoked to volunteer someway, somehow.”

Jill Mateo

Mancini, the only local business owner among the group seeking endorsement, said he had no quarrel with the RCC’s decision. The endorsed candidates were well-qualified, he said, and may have benefited from already participating in local government in an elected or appointed capacity.

“Perhaps the only missed opportunity was to endorse a candidate to bring new blood into the lineup,” Mancini said. “It would have been nice to include a candidate who could more directly represent the experience of the small business community in Riverside.”

Heneghan, a Brookfield native who moved to Riverside four years ago, said he appreciated the Riverside Community Caucus’ nonpartisan approach and had no issue with its endorsements.

“In plenty of places, it’s more of a political game but with the RCC, it really felt like it was more about ‘what you know’ rather than ‘who you know,’” Heneghan said in an email. “I think the Caucus made good decisions with its endorsements. Good ideas and good experience really carried the day.”

Riverside last had a contested election in 2009, when the RCC’s slate of candidates for president and trustee suffered complete defeat to a group of independents who served for one term and did not seek re-election.

Mateo’s husband, Ben Sells, was a village trustee in 2009 and was elected president in the uncontested 2013 race. Sells served for two terms, appointing Mateo to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Mateo has also attended nearly every village board meeting since 2009.

“All six prospective candidates would make fine trustees, and I appreciated the opportunity to make a case for my candidacy at the public forum [on Oct. 2],” Mateo said in an email to the Landmark. “My years of experience with village government and my leadership in local organizations give me an informed perspective on the issues we face as a community.”

Evans and Gallegos thanked the RCC for supporting their candidacies for a second term.

“I appreciate the work of the RCC board,” Evans said in an email. “I enjoyed the opportunity to share my experience and commitment to the community, along with my goals for a second term.”

“I’m pleased with the confidence the Caucus has in me, and I look forward to serving the village for four more years,” Gallegos said in a text message.