"..The Most Qualified and the Best Candidate for the 5th District..."
Commissioner Deborah Sims
Come out and Support Monica!
Please join Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White & Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Emil Jones III
along with Rep. Anthony Deluca, Rep. Marcus Evans, Mayor David Gonzalez, Hon. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Sonya Harper, Former Senate President Emil Jones Jr., Sen. Patrick Joyce, Rep. Justin Slaughter & Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims for a reception in support of candidate for Cook County Commissioner - Monica Gordon
Today I was proud to file my petitions to be on the ballot to be your next Cook County Commissioner of the 5th District.
I’m so proud of the momentum my campaign has built and the coalition of labor groups and elected officials who have endorsed my candidacy. But most importantly, I want to thank the volunteers who have helped me during petition season; I could not have done it without your support.
I look forward to the next few months as I continue to share my story with voters ahead of the upcoming June primary.
A dynamic race is taking shape among formidable political players for the Cook County Board seat Commissioner Deborah Sims of Posen has held since 1994.
Sims told me she is supporting Prairie State College Board member Monica Gordon of Flossmoor in the race. Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, 66, also said he plans to seek the $85,000-a-year job.
“I think she’ll do well for the 5th District, not just because she’s a woman but because she’s the most qualified and the best candidate,” Sims said. With 28 years in office, Sims, 67, has widespread name recognition. Her endorsement could represent a significant advantage. Sims announced earlier this month she would not seek an eighth term on the county board.
“My goal is to continue the momentum, to continue the work that Commissioner Sims has done as well as bring to the front issues that I’m passionate about,” Gordon said.
Voters elected Gordon, 43, to a six-year term on the Chicago Heights-based Community College District Board in April. Gordon said she likely would resign from the college board if she wins the June 28 Democratic primary and November 2022 general election for the county board seat.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate if I am granted this position to continue to serve on the Prairie State College Board,” Gordon said.
Sims criticized Alsberry, who told me he didn’t know if he would continue serving as mayor if elected to the county board. Sims said she believes her successor should hold no other elected office and that a Black woman is the best candidate. Sixth District Commissioner Donna Miller of Lynwood is the only other Black woman with a vote on the 17-member board, Sims said.
“It is important that a woman replaces me,” Sims said. “Without a woman, there will be no equity. Representation matters. Anybody who is concerned about diversity, equity and inclusion can’t deny it would be a problem that there are no Black women on the board, or only one Black woman on the board.”
Gordon hosts a podcast with Calumet City Clerk Nyota Figgs, who has leveled bullying accusations at Calumet City Mayor and state Rep. Thaddeus Jones. Gordon and Figgs are members of Sisters of the Southland, a group that includes Matteson City Clerk Yumeka Brown and Andrea Bonds, president of the Rich Township High School District 227 Board.
The group sponsored a seminar last week on how to expunge criminal records and has held food drives. “We decided to come together to join forces in advocacy, to do events that will push the Southland forward,” Gordon said. “These are women who share my sentiment for communities.”
Gordon is aligned with Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez, who has been at odds with Lori Wilcox, Chicago Heights city clerk and Democratic Party committeeman for Bloom Township. Gonzalez lent Gordon’s campaign $10,000 in 2020, state records showed.
Gordon ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for the 40th District state Senate seat vacated by Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields and won by Patrick Joyce of Essex. This year, Gordon was the top vote-getter in a four-way race for two seats on the Prairie State Board.
Gordon is director of government affairs and community relations at Chicago State University. She previously worked two years as executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Early in her career, she worked in medical and pharmaceutical sales and interned at WGN-TV.
Education, economic development and health care are among her top priorities, Gordon said. “I consider myself to be a community advocate,” she said. “One of the things I am very impressed about with Commissioner Sims is how she brought in mammogram testing to the district and brought in domestic violence prevention programs.”
The 5th District covers parts of Roseland, Pullman and Morgan Park in Chicago and suburban Blue Island, Chicago Heights, Dolton, Flossmoor, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Riverdale, Robbins and South Holland.
In addition to financial support from Gonzalez, Gordon snared endorsements from big-name political players in her bid for the Prairie State College seat this year. Prominent politicians who endorsed Gordon included Democratic Party of Illinois chair and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, state Sen. Emil Jones III of Chicago and state Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin of Olympia Fields.
Alsberry endorsed her in the race. Now they are opponents. “Everybody has a right to run,” Sims said. “I just think this is the wrong seat for him.” Alsberry has been mayor of Hazel Crest since 2013. He is co-chair of the Southland Development Authority and past president of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association.
“I have nothing against Mayor Alsberry,” Sims said. “I think he’s a nice person. I just think this is not the seat he should be running for.”
Illinois primaries for general elections are typically in March of even numbered years but lawmakers rescheduled the 2022 primary to June 28 because of delays related to the pandemic, the Census and redistricting.
Ted Slowik is a columnist at the Daily Southtown.