29th Ward Ald. Deborah Graham officially opened her new Austin office to the community on Saturday.
Speaking to a crowd that included fellow elected officials, Graham kicked things off by addressing her guests from atop a table at her office location, 5755 W. Division.
“I am overwhelmed at the turnout. I’m so please that the weather didn’t keep you at home,” she said.
The attendees also expressed their views and expectations for their new alderman.
“She seems like a nice person, and I hope she will do good,” said resident Sandra Horne, who also mentioned Isaac Carothers, the ward’s former alderman who resigned in February after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. “The last alderman: I never seen him or heard from him. He didn’t do anything, even with the turkeys. I’m hopeful with our new alderman, and look forward to see what changes will occur.”
Resident Sallie Verne expressed cautious optimism. “I really don’t know, but I believe she will be better,” she said.
Graham was appointed alderman by Mayor Richard Daley in March. The former 78 District state rep is a lifelong Austin resident. Pastor Rickey Sanders said he expects great things from Graham.
“She has been a great state rep, and now that she is going to be the alderman I think she is going to do a wonderful job. Clean up the community, get involve with the community; she has always been a people person,” he said.
Cook County Board Commissioner Earlean Collins (1st) added, “I expect her to keep doing what she doing. Being an alderman; there are a lot of different issues and she is going to work on those issues. They are all for the good of the community and I don’t expect anything different.”
Barbara McGowan, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner, and Ade Onayemi, an Austin businessman and civic leader, each said they believe Graham will do a good job.
Wrapping up her remarks, Graham told the crowd, “We are here to serve. We have an open door policy. If you would like to schedule any time with me you are more than welcome…I’m here to serve you and I am committed to be your voice.”