Deb Mell to vie against 11 others to replace retiring father as alderman

SHARE Deb Mell to vie against 11 others to replace retiring father as alderman
SHARE Deb Mell to vie against 11 others to replace retiring father as alderman

State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago) will vie for her retiring father’s aldermanic seat against 11 other applicants, at least three of them Hispanic, the mayor’s office disclosed Friday.

After vetting the 14 applicants for residency and eligibility, the mayor’s office narrowed the list to 12 and forwarded the resumes to a five-member committee that will screen and interview the applicants.

In addition to Deb Mell, the applicants were identified as: Robert F. Elrick; Elizabeth Lynn Gomez; Gretchen Carol Helmreich; Jonathan Andrew Markel; Mallen Elizabeth Pittman-Fernandez; Grace Trocollo Rink; Edmund Joseph Sieracki; Matthew Boyd Terry; Andrew Amador Tinajero; Annisa Michele Wanat and Sergiusz Piotr Zgrzebski.

The commission is expected to interview candidates by phone or in-person “if necessary” and recommend a “small group” of finalists for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to interview before announcing his choice in time to have Richard Mell’s replacement sworn in at the July 24 City Council meeting.

Top mayoral aides acknowledged again Friday that Deb Mell is the odds-on favorite to replace her retiring father.

Earlier this week, Emanuel himself appeared to set the stage for the father-daughter switch by talking about the series of firsts that would occur if Deb Mell is appointed.

“State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed a job in City Council because she would be the first [openly] lesbian [alderman] or because she had breast cancer. But, she’s not excluded because she would be the first lesbian and the first woman, as [far as] I know, that has breast cancer. I remind all of you [that] she was endorsed by both papers when she ran for state rep,” the mayor said.

Earlier this week, the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus decided not to send a letter to Emanuel urging the mayor to appoint a Hispanic replacement for retiring Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).

Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said the eight Hispanic aldermen who comprise the caucus’ executive committee were evenly divided on the issue of pressuring the mayor, given their respect for Dick Mell and their admiration for his daughter, State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), who remains the odds-on favorite to fill her father’s City Council seat.

“I’m one of the four who doesn’t think it’s a good idea, considering who Dick Mell is, the qualifications of Deb Mell, the fact the 33rd ward is 51 percent Hispanic and the fact we’ll be getting a Hispanic state representative to replace Deb Mell” if the mayor chooses her to replace her retiring father, Solis said.

Solis said the executive committee met with Richard Mell earlier this week to discuss the pressure tactic and the retiring alderman urged his colleagues not to weigh in.

Dick Mell is a member of the newly-expanded Hispanic Caucus that includes white aldermen with majority Hispanic wards.

The retiring alderman remains a Democratic ward committeeman with the largest weighted vote in his daughter’s legislative district. According to Solis, Dick Mell promised to back an Hispanic to replace his daughter in the Il. House.

After announcing his retirement last week, Richard Mell talked about installing his Hispanic aldermanic aide Jaime Andrade to replace Deb Mell in the Il. House. But, Solis said the retiring alderman mentioned no specific candidates during his meeting with the Hispanic Caucus.

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