On the Sunday before her May 20 swearing-in, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin held a Pre-Inauguration Community Celebration for several hundred people at the JLM Abundant Life Center, 2622 W. Jackson.
The event featured an array of performances by local and national Gospel musicians. The music capped off a day that began with a feast at the church. It was a fitting celebration for a momentous occasion, said Conyears-Ervin — the first West Sider ever elected to citywide office.
“This means a lot for the West Side of Chicago,” she said of her tenure during a brief interview before the May 19 event began. “We are excited, because we finally have representation and have been acknowledged. There’s talent all over this city.”
The new treasurer said that she planned to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot within a week. When asked if the West Side representation that’s reflective in her election will extend to Lightfoot’s administration, Conyears-Ervin said that she has hope.
“I certainly hope that both the West and South Sides are included in citywide offices, because we want to make certain that we have representation and that there are people in office making decisions with our mindset.”
And that mindset, she said, recognizes a clear socioeconomic divide in the city.
“In regards to the haves and the have-nots, we know that over the years the disparity has increased,” she said. “So, we believe in having people in appropriate positions who think about those in underserved communities.”
On her first day in office, Conyears-Ervin said, she plans on meeting with the representatives of the various banking institutions that hold the city’s money.
“We want to make certain that we have a plan for the unbanked population,” she said. “The dialogue already started with the banking institutions during my transition, so they know what my expectation is. We have to make certain that our investment strategy reflects investment in underserved communities.”
Burnett’s son fills Conyears-Ervin’s 10th Dist. seat
On May 17, at the JLM Life Center, a group of local aldermen and Democratic committeemen met to appoint someone to replace Melissa Conyears-Ervin, who vacated her seat as 10th District state representative after she was elected city treasurer.
The group, formally called the 10th District Appointment Committee, selected the son of Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th) — the appointment committee’s chairman — to fill the vacant seat.
According to the Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Jawaharial “Omar” Williams, 44, a laborer in the city’s Department of Water Management, was selected over seven other candidates vying to occupy the Illinois House 10th District.
“Williams, a past president of the Young Democrats of Illinois and a precinct captain in his father’s ward organization, was sworn in on the spot, with Burnett holding the Bible on which he placed his hand to take the oath of office.
“Williams will immediately take his place in Springfield for the conclusion of the spring legislative session.”
Brown reported that Conyears-Ervin’s husband, Committeeman and Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), who served as the appointment committee’s vice-chairman, “objected to Williams’ selection and tried to advance a ‘placeholder’ candidate [72-year-old Eddie Rasul] who would not run for re-election next year.”
Along with Burnett and Ervin, the appointment committee include:
Joe Moreno (1st Ward)
Tim Egan (2nd Ward)
Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward)
Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward)
Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward)
Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward)
Emma Mitts (37th Ward)
Lucy Moog (43rd Ward)
Ahead of the May 17 committee meeting, the Cook County Democratic Party put out an advisory seeking applicants for the appointment. Applicants had to live in the district for at least two years before the appointment; and email a copy of their resume, a photo ID; and a copy of their voter registration card to committee members by 5 p.m. on May 15 to be considered for the seat.