A former Chicago alderman who served time on federal corruption charges has entered the Cook County Board race for 1st District commissioner. 

Former Austin Alderman Isaac Carothers, who resigned his Chicago City Council seat in 2010 after pleading guilty to bribery and other charges, has announced his bid to replace incumbent Earlean Collins on the Cook County Board.

Collins will not seek reelection and will retire, according to the Chicago Tribune. Carothers announced two weeks ago his intention to run for the 1st District Cook County Board seat, which covers the West Side, Oak Park and surrounding western suburbs. 

Lawyers Blake Sercye and Richard Boykin have already declared their candidacies in the March 2014 primary. Rory Hoskins, aForest Parkcommissioner, has expressed interest in running but has not finalized a decision about entering the race.

Carothers, 59, served as 29th Ward alderman from 1999 until his resignation. He was indicted in May 2009 on charges including bribery and tax fraud. His father, William Carothers, was convicted in 1983 on federal corruption charges while serving as alderman for the 28th Ward — they became the first father-and-son aldermen in the city’s history to be indicted.

The younger Carothers served roughly one year of his 28-month sentence and was released in late 2011.

Prior to his May 2009 indictment, Carothers was an influential City Council figure and close ally of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Carothers chaired the powerful police and fire committee. He resigned from office in February 2010 after pleading guilty to the charges, including taking a bribe from a developer in exchange for approving a zoning change to Galewood industrial site. Carothers was also charged with wire and mail fraud.

He was under investigation for more than a year and ended up working with federal investigators by wearing a wire to record conversations. 

Former Carothers aide also a candidate

Also announcing for the county board race is Carothers’ former chief of staff, Brenda Smith. AWest Sideactivist and business owner, Smith officially entered the race last month.

In a written press statement, Smith, a West Sider, promised to lower county taxes and bring more businesses, including construction contracts, to the 1st District. Smith also promises to bring “our entire community together — city and suburban areas — with important information on issues and topics which impact you and your family through social media.

“I will open upCookCountyresources, agencies and departments with fresh, new innovative approaches to delivering superior community service,” said Smith, who described herself as a “bridge builder.”  

“My mission: I want to bring families together through exciting, family-friendly events in partnership with local sports and cultural groups,” she said, pledging to bring block clubs, neighborhoods and nonprofits together to help West Siders, “prosper and thrive.”

She kicked off her campaign with Sept. 21, community event in Austin. 

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