Districts 89 & 209 School Board Candidates Survive Challenges

Cheryl AndersonTuesday, January 27, 2015 || Originally Published: 1/26/15 || Forest Park Review || By Jean Lotus, Editor

Proviso District 209 school board candidate Cheryl Anderson (pictured left) survived a challenge to her candidacy, Friday, after the Cook County electoral board overruled a complaint saying she failed to turn in a statement of economic interest.

“I did have a statement of economic interest,” Anderson said Monday. “I guess someone just didn’t want me on the ballot. Someone was looking hard to try to find some miniscule things to eliminate me because I’m a strong candidate.”

The challenge was filed by Maywood insurance agent Antoinette Gray, who herself was thrown off the ballot in a 7th District state rep primary challenge in February 2014 for failing to establish residency in the district for two years.

Anderson said Monday she is an independent candidate who represents change for the district. She pointed out the other six candidates have split into two slates, each including an incumbent.

“There are two tag teams with three on each slate, and it’s three times the same thing. People are tired of it,” Anderson said.

The other slates are 209 Together and The Children First Party. In the 209 Together group, Forest Parkers Nathan “Ned” Wagner and Claudia Medina have joined incumbent Theresa Kelly. The Children First Party candidates include incumbent Francine Harrell, along with Theodore Matthews and ShawnTe Raines Welch. Raines Welch is the wife of former D209 school board president Emanuel Chris Welch, who was elected 7th District state rep in 2014.

Anderson said if elected she would bring back vocational skills training to the district to get students ready for jobs.

“I want to have skilled craftsmen, carpenters, plumbers, bakers and chefs who are unemployed to come and teach these students a trade; everyone may not be interested in going to college.”

Anderson, of Melrose Park, is a Melrose Park Public library board member. She formerly worked in Englewood as a juvenile protection officer.

“If the schools fail, the jails increase,” she said, adding that all stakeholders are responsible for students’ success.

“Everyone has to be accountable, the students, the parents, the legislators, the schools, the community. Everybody should be called out for why aren’t our kids graduating. That’s why I was challenged.”

District 89 candidates survive challenge || By Michael Romain

Two District 89 School Board candidates facing challenges were both successful in overturning them. Rolando Villegas of Melrose Park and Damien Harvey of Maywood were challenged by Carlos Esteban Rojas of Melrose Park. Villegas is said to have been recruited to run by District 209 Board member Theresa Kelly, who herself is running with a slate that includes Forest Parkers Nathan Wagner and Claudia Medina. Rojas, according to a source, may have once been employed by the Village of Melrose Park and may be connected to incumbents on the District 89 Board who are allied with Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico.

Rojas claimed that the nomination papers of the two candidates contained “the names of persons, as petitioners, who are not duly registered as voters at the addresses shown opposite their respective names;”  illegible or incomplete addresses; and less than the minimum of 50 validly “collected and presented signatures of qualified and duly registered legal voters” of District 89, according to the case file.

Villegas and Harvey will both appear on the ballot in April. VFP

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