I was surprised when I read an opinion piece in this paper that said the race for Cook County commissioner is "in effect, a two-person race" [It's down to two — let's make the right choice, Viewpoints, Feb. 5].
I am supporting Blake Sercye and let me tell you why.
I first met Blake in 2010. Blake's supporters asked him to submit his credentials to fill a vacancy in the Illinois General Assembly's 78th House District. During his presentation, I learned that Blake was raised by a strong single mother in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, went to high school at Fenwick, college at Princeton University, and was completing his law degree at the University of Chicago. Though he was young, I was impressed by his passion for public service and his volunteer work with inner-city children in our district.
I have watched Blake grow into the man he is today and I am proud of his continued commitment to public service.
Blake is now an attorney at Jenner & Block LLP, and he leads the legal assistance committee of the Chicago West Side NAACP. He also serves on the board or junior boards of several nonprofits, including Bethel New Life, a community development organization serving Austin and Garfield Park, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, an advocate for laws and policies that improve the lives of people living in poverty.
In 2012, he was appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn to the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMDC), a body charged with developing the largest urban medical district in the country. Blake now serves as treasurer for the IMDC.
More than anything, his understanding of the issues is what made me decide to support him. Blake is passionate about reducing the population at Cook County Jail, helping people get access to health care, and using land banking as a tool to create affordable housing and support business development. He will represent the interests of our entire district — both city and suburban. The early support Blake has garnered from me, as well as others throughout the district, and the money he has raised makes the strength of his candidacy clear.
Of course, you must decide who to support for yourself. I encourage you to learn about each of the candidates in this race — all five of them. Once you do, I am confident you will realize as I have that Blake Sercye deserves your vote on March 18.
Ade Onayemi currently serves as an Oak Park Township trustee. He ran for 1st District Cook County commissioner in 2010 and won Oak Park Township.