Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was right to call for a Palos Township trustee to step down from the county’s Commission on Women’s Issues after xenophobic Facebook posts by the trustee, Sharon Brannigan, recently surfaced.
We doubt Brannigan has the objectivity or professionalism to fulfill her responsibilities as a member of the commission or trustee. She should resign from both.
Brannigan’s comments on Facebook were ill-informed and irresponsible. In one post, she asked, “Why are all our schools filling with Middle East students without proper documentation? What is Dan Lipinski 3rd district rep. (D) doing about it?”
As a public official, Brannigan has a responsibility to get the facts. Terry Heafey, a Palos School District 118 trustee, tried to give Brannigan a reality check after he learned of her post.
“As we discussed the issue of school registration and the thorough process that Palos School District 118 enacts to verify residency, it was clear that Mrs. Brannigan had no knowledge of this process or evidence to substantiate her claim,” Heafey said at a township board meeting Monday, according to the Daily Southtown.
Brannigan, a trustee since 2013, has taken down her Facebook page. The Southtown reported that Brannigan, a former candidate for Congress, invoked her right to free speech at the township meeting.
She fails to see that her title as trustee doesn’t magically disappear when she posts on Facebook. She was elected to serve all the residents of her township. Telling falsehoods and resorting to ethnic stereotypes lead to questions about her suitability to serve.
Two years ago, Brannigan wrote on Facebook: “In the 3rd district here in Illinois, our demographics include 25% Muslims of which very few integrate within the communities keeping themselves and their activities hidden from the general population. Everywhere you turn, from Orland Park to Bridgeview, those numbers are increasing in leaps and bounds. We are allowing these people whether they have peaceful intentions or not into our country without question.”
That doesn’t sound like someone fit to serve a township rich with cultural diversity. Or any township. Preckwinkle wants her to step down from the commission “if these posts reflect her views on diversity and inclusion.” Brannigan has left no doubt about it.
The trustee has a big problem: She is ill-suited for public office.
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