The dignitaries were out in Oak Park on Saturday to help open the district office of State Rep. LaShawn Ford, whose eighth legislative district covers Oak Park and Austin.
A slight rain and early morning start didn’t hurt the grand opening festivities. The office is at 816 S. Oak Park, just north of the Eisenhower Expressway and Blue Line el stop. Among those joining Ford were Oak Park Village officials, along with State Sen. Don Harmon (39th), State Rep. Deborah Graham (78th) and Oak Park residents.
Ade Onayemi, a former Oak Park school board president and currently a candidate for the Cook County Board against Comm. Earlean Collins (1st), served as host. Ford’s Oak Park office, a large first-floor space in a storefront building, is the first district village office for an eighth district representative in some time, according to Ford and others in attendance.
“I’m happy to be the first to reach out,” he said. “This is a great opportunity.”
He thanked everyone for coming out, and acknowledged Onayemi for organizing the opening. Since his election in 2006, Ford has looked to maintain a presence in Oak Park. He noted that opening the office had been in the works since his election. He told the small crowd, gathered in a large conference area with fruit and cookies for refreshments, that the office was originally scheduled to open about a month earlier but funding was held up in the state budget at the time. He thanked his fellow legislators, including his state senator, Kimberly Lightford (4th), for helping secure the funding.
Because of a small volunteer staff, the office will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment. Ford, whose other district office is in Austin at 5014 W. Chicago Ave., said people can come into the Oak Park office for information on various issues. He stressed that the office is for the entire district.