The Caucus Party has held the six trustee positions in the village for more than half a century.
David Gleicher and Michael Rosenberg were the last independents who ran for trustee. That was in 1993 and both of them lost.
Almost two decades later, however, two new independents will be trying to change village history and be the first non Caucus Party elected trustee in more than 50 years.
Lisa Lipin and Brian Novak are both Skokie residents known for being active in the community. On Lipin's end, she founded and currently chairs Skokie Voice, a grassroots organization aimed at improving communication between the village and residents. Meanwhile, Novak is currently a board member of Skokie School District 73.5 and sits on the village's Consumer Affairs Committee. There will be six vacant seats come April, and both Lipin and Novak are hopeful to win out those spots.
"Skokie is evolving, changing," said Novak, 38. "The evolution equals the need for fresh perspective."
Novak said he grew up in Roger's Park and moved to Skokie about eight years ago.
"I don't feel like I'm running against the Caucus Party," he said "It's not in my best interest to act that way. There's room for fresh perspective, room for change."
When Patch asked Novak what he thinks Skokie's short term goals should be he said: "Short term, we need to enforce existing ordinances. And maybe we're not enforcing those ordinances enough. [Second,] sticking with public safety perception."
In the end, Novak said he simply wants to offer a fresh perspective to the village and represent the everyday citizen.
"For far too long the people of our community have not had a choice for their trustee representative. My wife, Cyndy, and I chose Skokie because of its richly diverse population, commitment to excellence in education and fantastic location," Novak said. "We have been active in the community and want to ensure everyone has a voice in fulfilling our village’s goal – to be a village of vision. I will offer a fresh perspective for our evolving community – for the 21st century and beyond."
Lipin agrees Skokie residents need a choice come April. While she's been a member of the Caucus Party for several years, Lipin was screened prior to announcing her run for trustee. In the end, she decided to run as an independent.
"I screened with them. It was just like a job interview," Lipin said. “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.
“I feel that running independently is the best way for the people of Skokie to have a choice.".
Skokie Patch reached out several times to the Caucus Party for interviews, but did not get a response. The following will be running for trustee under the Caucus Party this April: Michele Bromberg, Randy Roberts, Edie Sue Sutker (all incumbents) and newcomers Karen Gray-Keeler, Ralph Klein and Ilonka Ulrich.
Gray-Keeler is filling the unexpired term of former Village Trustee Michael Lorge. Lorge resigned several months ago and now serves as the Village’s Corporation Counsel.