Candidate events brewing ahead of April election

Meet and greets, forums on deck for school board, village trustee races

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By Bob Uphues


With local elections two months away, three area organizations will host a slew of candidate meet-and-greets as well as a couple of more formal forums in the coming weeks.

Indivisible Brookfield will host the first of these events, a meet-and-greet with candidates running for the Brookfield Village Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the party room at Slager's, 9308 47th St. in Brookfield.

"The purpose of our meet-and-greet events is to provide an opportunity for the residents of Brookfield and surrounding communities to get to know who is running for office in a relaxed, social setting," stated an email announcing the events from the Indivisible Brookfield steering committee.

At 7:30 p.m., a brief formal program will allow each candidate to speak to attendees for a few minutes. The rest of the event will allow candidates to mingle with attendees and answer individual questions informally.

Other meet-and-greets hosted by Indivisible Brookfield prior to the election will include one for candidates for the school boards of Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95, Riverside District 96 and Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 on Tuesday, March 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Cottage at Irish Times, 8869 Burlington Ave. in Brookfield and one for candidates for the school boards of LaGrange-Brookfield District 102, Lyons-Brookfield District 103 and Lyons Township High School 204 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 14  in the party room at Slager's in Brookfield.

Meanwhile, the folks from Indivisible West Suburban Action League are planning to host a candidate meet-and-greet for candidates running for village trustee in North Riverside on Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave.

Lisa Janunas, a spokeswoman for Indivisible West Suburban Action League, said the group's initial plan was to host a forum featuring candidates for trustee but that the group received no response from VIP Party candidates, Deborah Czajka, Martin DeLeonardis and Matthew Decosola. The three independent candidates, H. Bob Demopoulos, Marybelle Mandel and Luigi "Gino" Labellarte had agreed to the forum, Janunas said.

North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. said VIP is wary of forum events because he believes that in the past "questions have been stacked" against VIP and that opponents "are given a certain advantage in what they're looking for."

Eventually, the Indivisible group, which includes members from North Riverside and Riverside, decided on a more informal meet-and-greet for Feb. 25. VIP responded to that invitation by saying the party had planned its own meet-and-greet on the same night from 6 to 8 p.m. in the lower-level conference room at MB Bank, 7222 Cermak Road.

Janunas said her group had no interest in rigging a forum against a particular group of candidates.

"We don't have an agenda," Janunas said. "We have a lot of North Riverside members and we really wanted to help them. This event really came out of that. We didn't have ulterior motives."


Candidate forums

Indivisible West Suburban Action League will host a formal candidate forum for those running for seats on the Riverside-Brookfield High School Board of Education on Wednesday, March 13 in the auditorium of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road in Riverside.

The question-and-answer event will be moderated by Elyse Hoffenberg, a LaGrange resident and member of the LaGrange School District 105 board.

In addition, the League of Women Voters of the LaGrange Area will host a candidate forum for those running for school board seats in District 102 and District 204 on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Lyons Township High School South Campus Performing Arts Center, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road in Western Springs.

District 102 candidates will make brief presentations and then answer questions from 7 to 8 p.m. LTHS school board candidates will follow from 8:15 to 9:15 p.m.

Anyone wishing to submit questions for consideration can send them to and to 

Email: Twitter: @RBLandmark

Reader Comments

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Kathryn Dennis  

Posted: February 13th, 2019 10:08 AM

Looks like Hermanek is treating his own North Riverside VIP trustee candidates like they're LEPERS--keeping them separated from the other party candidates and the Indivisible group forum. Seems to be a habit Hermanek finds too hard to break. His quotes of: "questions have been stacked" and "opponents are given a certain advantage in what they're looking for" are gibberish in my opinion because they make no sense whatsoever nor does he explain what he is even referring to. I believe it is unfair and slanderous of the mayor to suggest that Lisa Janunas or anyone else affiliated with Indivisible is planning any type of unfair forum or targeting in any way the VIP party specifically. She even had to go so far as to defend herself by stating "her group had no interest in rigging a forum against a particular group of candidates". What is Hermanek basing his accusations on? Could the embarrassment of the explosive August 13th village board meeting where angry residents packed the village hall to protest the mayor's choice of fire chief still sting Hermanek? At this same meeting Lisa Janunas herself of Indivisible West Suburban Action League spoke in protest of the mayor's choice of fire chief. Could this be some sort of unfair retaliation? Meanwhile, candidates for seven boards along with the North Riverside independent trustee candidates have all agreed to the forums and locations hosted by Indivisible. Hermanek owes Lisa Janusas of Indivisible an apology. In my opinion she may have had success if she had only made a donation to the VIP party. This all may have been smoothed over after the hurt feelings of the board meeting (depending on the donation amount).

Kathy Johnson from La Grange Park  

Posted: February 12th, 2019 9:14 PM

Hi I am a resident of La Grange Park and am running for Village Trustee here in a contested race. We tend to get overlooked here because we are tiny and quiet. Not this year. Anyway I hope you update your article to include the candidate forum being hosted by the LOWV on March 9th at Plymouth Place at 10am. We rarely have contested races in our community. The link is here. Thanks

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