Sercye for County Board


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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

The essential remaking of Cook County government has been underway for three years already. And during this start of the Toni Preckwinkle era of reform and reinvention, residents of the 1st District have been on the sidelines with our do-nothing holdover of a commissioner from the county's decades of bloat and patronage and governance, so actively bad it was insulting both to the county's poor who used the services and the county's middle class which was being robbed with every tax collection cycle.

Now 1st District constituents from the West Side out through Oak Park, Forest Park and into Proviso Township, have the opportunity in the March 18 Democratic Primary to elect a new commissioner to play a progressive role in fixing an expensive layer of government that serves critical needs in health care, criminal justice and the forest preserves.

There are five candidates in this race. Three are serious contenders. Two are taking up space and possibly slicing vote counts in critical ways. We'll start there:

Brenda Smith is currently an aide to the aforementioned Commissioner Earlean Collins. She was previously an aide to another candidate in this race, Ike Carothers. Neither affiliation is an attribute. Beyond that when Smith does rarely turn out to campaign, she mouths the usual mush about loving the district and helping people. Enough.

Ron Lawless is a perennial candidate. We like Ron. But we don't take him seriously.

Of the three remaining candidates one is Carothers, a former Chicago alderman from Austin, who was convicted of accepting bribes and committing fraud. He admits doing wrong and he has served time in prison. While everyone deserves a second chance in life, corrupt public officials do not deserve a second chance at public office. It's that plain.

Carothers is a talented, old-school politician who makes things happen. We find him a humbler and more interesting person than the alderman with the bluster and bravado of days past. We wish him the best and look forward to the contributions he will make to community life outside of government.

This leaves us with two candidates: Blake Sercye and Richard Boykin. These are bright, determined men with political skills and connections who will make our district a force in the continuing overhaul of county government. 

But they are not interchangeable and we enthusiastically choose Blake Sercye.

Sercye's youth and idealism, matched with political pragmatism and a true progressive agenda, make him by far the best choice. His life story — growing up in Austin with a single mom and lifting himself through Fenwick, Princeton and the law school at the University of Chicago — is remarkable. But it is only important to this campaign because he chose to remain in Austin, to actively volunteer and advocate for Westsiders.

He also understands this moment's opportunity to win this office and to use it to connect the West Side, Oak Park and Proviso in ways that pure political math has not demanded. We are stronger together and Sercye grasps that.

In other circumstances, Richard Boykin would be a worthy choice. He has political experience and connection owing to his experience as a top aide to Cong. Danny Davis (D-7th). 

What we don't see is the on-the-ground connection to the district that Sercye offers. Boykin offers D.C. connects that are less immediately valuable and too frequently lead back to a lobbying career that leaves us with some sense of disquiet.

We are admirers of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and we are influenced by her strong endorsement of Blake Sercye. 

And so we add our own strong endorsement.

Reader Comments

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Posted: March 7th, 2014 1:35 PM

Blake supports Praise Dancing. He said so in this tweet

Big T from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2014 8:12 AM

I find it interesting that only four people have committed on this article. Looks like to me no one cares about Austin Weekly support of Sercye. There are 111 comments in the same paper about praise dancing. Go Figure. I think Boykin and Sercye are not the best choice. I don't know Brenda Smith but she doesn't seem to be beholden and indebted to the politicians, such as Mayors and County Presidents. Boykin and Sercye owe favors. We need new blood and not the same old thing. The do nothings...

AWN Reader  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 9:20 PM

What does Blake Sercye think about PRAISE DANCING?

Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 5:17 PM

Remember the do nothing mayor at election time and vote for someone else (hopefully of a true independent political party)!


Posted: March 5th, 2014 1:47 PM

Austin Weekly you support Sercye because of politics not because he is the best choice. He is now indebted to the Mayor. The same Mayor that refuses to put lights in our neighborhood, the Mayor that won't fill our potholes but wants more bike lanes, the Mayor that won't hire black people in key positions in his leadership cabinet, the Mayor that refuses to put resources in our community, the Mayor that closes schools in our district. The Mayor that has nothing to do with black folks...Really??

Cosby Birton from chicago  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 1:38 PM

You want us to support a guy who the Mayor supports. The Mayor does nothing for the community I live in-West side of Chicago! You say Boykin is the second best choice. He makes a lot of money lobbying but doesn't want to pay taxes. He moved to our district so he could run for office not because he is committed to our community. Ike doesn't deserve anything said about him other than, REALLY?? Try counseling. If you ask me, Brenda is best the choice! I support HER. She has proven her loyalty.

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