Next year’s municipal elections might just feature some excitement as the Skokie Caucus Party will receive a stiff challenge from a well known resident.
Lisa Lipin, the founder of community group Skokie Voice, has announced her intention of running an independent campaign for trustee. She will be taking on the Skokie Caucus Party slate featuring Mayor George Van Dusen, three trustees seeking re-election and three other candidates who have served on various municipal committees.
“I see myself as a true advocate for people and after serving the community for years in a variety of positions I’ve decided to bring my advocacy work as an elected official,” Lipin said. “I feel that running independently is the best way for the people of Skokie to have a choice.”
Lipin said she did appear before the Caucus Party in the slating process, but did inform the party stalwarts that she intended to run whether they would support her or not.
Lipin, 49, started to get attention when she successfully lobbied the State of Illinois to get a toy banned that almost cost the life of her son, Andrew, in 2003. She has also been heavily involved in local school districts and in 2010 created Skokie Voice.
She said she is not planning to hammer away on a single issue, which removes the prospect of her taking advantage of an emotional situation to springboard her way onto the board as has happened in other communities. Making the task all that much harder for her is that Skokie trustees serve as large representatives, not divided up into wards. Therefore, Lipin has to get her name out to all of the Skokie voters before the April election, without the support of an established organization as she emphasized she is running totally independent of Skokie Voice.
“I did not make this decision lightly,” she said. “I enter this knowing what is involved. I am well aware of what is ahead of me. I want to work for the residents and businesses of Skokie to be their voice on the village board and so that Skokie is a safe, viable and prosperous community.”
Candidates with the backing of the Caucus Party have built in support mechanisms in terms of voter outreach that Lipin will be forced to do on her own. Lipin declined to say how much money she believes it will cost to run a viable candidacy, but acknowledges the daunting task ahead of her.
Her competition for the six person board (plus the mayor) will be incumbents Edie Sue Sutker, Michele Bromberg and Randy Roberts. Seeking a first term on the board will be Karen Gray-Keeler, Ilonka Ulrich and Ralph Klein who have been on various committees in the village.
Current trustee Pramod Shah has been slated to take over as Village Clerk following the retirement of Marlene Williams. Michael Lorge is stepping down from the board to move over to the village’s Corporation Counsel to replace the retiring Patrick Hanley and veteran trustee Don Perille is stepping after 52 years of service.
“The three new candidates all have experience in land use,” Caucus Party Chairman Jim McCarthy said. “Some were on the planning commission; some were on the zoning board. We thought that was important given the economic times we are in. There is going to be a lot of land development.”
McCarthy did not address the Lipin candidacy directly, but he did speak of the slating process in general.
“In a perfect world you would have representation of all constituencies within the village,” he said. “We try to do that but the tension we have is trying to slate the best people to put forward with a balanced ticket. Sometimes you can’t always do that.”
Check Skokie Patch tomorrow for more coverage on the new trustee candidates.