Most of the attention for tomorrow’s elections has been consumed by Chicago’s mayoral runoff, but a few other crucial contests may have a long-term impact on how the suburbs of the city look and feel.
These hitherto “low-interest” elections for mayors and school board members have been taken over by partisan money politics and ideological issues.
city school boards
School boards in suburbs: These formerly calm, nonpartisan races have been propelled into the center of political debate because to pandemic measures and cultural conflicts over what is taught in schools.
Generating the news: Governor Pritzker and other Democrats matched the thousands of dollars that conservative groups had invested in suburban school board and library board contests.
Some candidates have received training from organizations like Awake Illinois, a Naperville-based nonprofit created tooppose requiring masks in classrooms. Conservative talking points on topics like parental rights and education are provided to the candidates.
What they say is this: Awake Illinois is simply “choosing politicians to further a political agenda in communities where they don’t live and where their children don’t attend school,” according to Jennifer Stamp, an Oswego mother and co-founder of the progressive Parents for Progress, who spoke to the Chicago Tribune.
Rewind: At a Downers Grove school board meeting in 2021, the far-right extremist Proud Boys participated in a demonstration calling for the book’s banning. Indignant parents and activists disrupted a library board meeting in Lincolnwood last year.
The campaign to succeed outgoing mayor Steve Chirico is close. Candidate Steve Wherli hails from a renowned family that is the closest thing to royalty in the western region.
Certainly, but a new generation of inhabitants who have moved in throughout the 21st century might not find that particularly meaningful. After sitting on the Naperville City Council since 2017, Benny White is running.
In the history of the city, White is the first Black council member.
Important topics include housing affordability, development, and the recently passed assault weapon ban.
Until they were lifted in 2022, a number of suburban parent organizations also voiced their opposition to mask requirements.
The most recent: Just last week, a bill restricting state funding to any library board that forbids books was approved by the Illinois Assembly.
Some significant suburban elections include the following.
Several board members are stepping down, paving the way for a new village board to make the crucial decision on the Bears’ possible relocation to the old Arlington Park racetrack area.
Driving the news: Tempers are flaring after a resident accused Arlington Heights officials of receiving financial benefits from the Bears to relocate. Mayor Thomas Hayes denies the accusations.