Forest Park mayor Rory Hoskins is one of the final six candidates to fill the Cook County Board vacancy left when 1st District Commissioner Brandon Johnson resigned to become mayor of Chicago.
The committee made up of Democratic Party committeepersons representing Chicago Wards and suburban townships that fall within the 1st District will choose Johnson’s successor on June 20. The meeting will be held at The Carleton of Oak Park Hotel’s Foxboro Room. 1110 Pleasant St. at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public, and will include interviews, followed by a closed-session committee deliberation. In the press release issued on June 19, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-39th) announced the slate of the final six candidates, which included Hoskins. Committee spokesperson Tom Bowen said they were the final six candidates chosen after considering the resumes.
While Johnson had to give up his seat because Chicago mayors can’t hold other elected offices, nothing in the Cook County codes of ordinances explicitly bars suburban mayors from serving on the county board. Forest Park municipal code doesn’t have any provisions stopping mayors from holding other elected offices, either.
Each member of the selection committee holds a vote equivalent to how much the total vote Johnson got in their township or ward during the 2022 county board election. Harmon, who serves as the Oak Park Township committeeperson, and County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, the Proviso Township committeeperson, collectively hold 58.72% of the vote. Hoskins supported both elected officials, and Yarbrough attended his swearing-in ceremony on May 8, after Hoskins won a second term by a comfortable margin.
Hoskins did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
If Hoskins were to resign the mayor’s office, Commissioner of Accounts & Finance Maria Maxham, a former Forest Park Review editor, will step in as interim mayor until the village council fills the vacancy by a simple majority vote.
The city members of the commission include Ald. Daniel LaSpata (1st), 2nd Ward Committeeperson Tim Egan, 26th Ward Committeeperson Angee Gonzalez Rodriguez, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th).
The remaining finalists are mostly from the city portion of the district. That includes Rev. Ira J. Acree, co-chair of the Leaders Network, a faith-based West Side social justice group and pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church; former 29th Ward aldermanic candidate and Cook County Board president candidate Zerlina Smith-Members, former 37th Ward aldermanic candidate and education activist Tara Stamps, and activist Claiborne Wade, who is originally from Austin but currently lives in Forest Park.