Skokie Caucus Party slates candidates for spring election
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen
CAUCUS PARTY SLATE
MAYOR: George Van Dusen
VILLAGE CLERK: Pramod Shah
TRUSTEES: Michelle Bromberg, Randy Roberts, Edie Sue Sutker, Ralph Klein, Karen Gray-Keeler and Ilonka Ulrich
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:15AM
SKOKIE — The ruling Skokie Caucus Party has slated three incumbent Village Board members for re-election bids next spring while also slating three current and former members of key village commissions for the remaining open trustee seats on the board.
In Skokie, the mayor, village clerk and six trustees all run at the same time rather than in staggered years. While Mayor George Van Dusen announced this week that he would seek re-election April 9, only half of the current Village Board are running to hold their seats.
That’s the result of several factors. Don Perille, one of the longest-serving Village Board members in Skokie’s history, and Village Clerk Marlene Williams are not seeking re-election. Corporation Counsel Pat Hanley is retiring.
The Caucus Party slated current Trustee Pramod Shah to run for Williams’ seat of village clerk. Current Trustee Michael Lorge, a lawyer, will take over for Hanley as the village’s corporation counsel. Their vacated trustee positions along with Perille’s retirement account for the three seats that will not be under challenge by incumbents.
Village Trustees Edie Sue Sutker, Randy Roberts and Michelle Bromberg are endorsed by the Caucus Party for re-election bids along with Ralph Klein, current Zoning Board chairman and former Caucus Party president, Karen Gray-Keeler, former Plan Commission member and Ilonka Ulrich, current Zoning Board member.
Caucus Party President Jim McCarthy said more people screened with the party to be slated for open seats than there were seats available.
“We think we have the best slate possible,” he said. “We have a group who will work for what’s best for all of Skokie.”
If the Caucus Party’s full slate is elected, it would mark the first time there would be more women trustees on the board than men. McCarthy said there was a time when people questioned the Caucus Party as to why more women didn’t sit on the Village Board.
One factor that stands out among the new slated candidates, he said, is their familiarity and experience with land use cases. That’s especially important with projects such as the new Oberweis Dairy being built in the West Dempster Street area, a Walgreens being built to the east also on Dempster and a shopping center to be anchored by a Walmart being built on the east end of Touhy Avenue.
“I see issues revolving around economic development being with Skokie for a long time,” McCarthy said.
Both Gray-Keeler and Ulrich are lawyers who have addressed land use cases and Klein has served on the Zoning Board for years.
Caucus Party candidates have often run uncontested, but the race for the six open trustee seats will break that pattern. Lisa Lipin, a community activist and chair of the non-political residents’ association, Skokie Voice, is running for trustee as an independent, she announced this week.
McCarthy said he believes a contested race is good for the village and will allow for more resident engagement. But he and other Caucus Party officials have said that this will not change how the party campaigns.
The Caucus Party will hold a series of events that will allow voters to discuss issues and get to know candidates, he said. Those will be announced soon.
The three new slated candidates were all members of the Caucus Party Board of Directors. McCarthy said that some of those who screened to be slated for open seats and were not chosen will be invited to join the party’s board now that there will be vacancies.
CAUCUS PARTY SLATE
Mayor: George Van Dusen
Village Clerk: Pramod Shah
Trustees: Michelle Bromberg, Randy Roberts, Edie Sue Sutker, Ralph Klein, Karen Gray-Keeler and Ilonka Ulrich