Where once Forest Park had three members of the U.S. House – Danny Davis, Dan Lipinski and Luis Gutierrez – representing slivers and shafts of the village, now, post redistricting, there is only Davis in our corner.
These are the vagaries of partisan politics far above Forest Park’s pay grade. But the impact can be real even in a moment of lessened federal largesse trickling down in our direction.
Both Davis and village Park Commissioner Rory Hoskins attested to Davis’ Forest Park bona fides in talking with the Review last week.
Davis told us he’s well familiar with both Forest Parkers and two local pols, those being Hoskins and Mayor Anthony Calderone. Davis reminisced about meeting with Calderone and visiting the mayor’s boyhood school (we’re not sure which one it is, the Mayor’s Office of Public Affairs never got back to us). Davis dubbed the mayor a “real Forest Parker” with whom he has a “wonderful relationship.” The congressman also talked about how “involved” Hoskins is within the district.
According to Hoskins, Davis’ good deeds abound. The commissioner wrote in an email that Davis was instrumental in securing a 2009 grant that funded redevelopment of Harvard and Jackson; his office rallied funding for an engineering study that will determine how IDOT will reconstruct the Harlem viaduct at the Green Line; and he is also aware that the village has long craved the Army Reserve site on Roosevelt, and supposedly promised that it will not go to the US Postal Service, if the Army vacates.
Both Hoskins and Davis also pointed to the congressman’s relationship with Pastor Bill Winston, of Living Word Christian Center. Davis joked that, although Dan Lipinski’s 3rd District formerly included Living Word’s territory on Roosevelt Road, he has a “West Side” connection to Winston.
Hoskins noted that Davis helped secure partial funding for the Joseph School of Business “the non-religious arm of Living Word.”
“The Joseph Center has trained a number of small business owners who live in Forest Park and hold business licenses issued by the village,” Hoskins wrote.
Davis has more connections (including family members) to Forest Park, and based on Hoskins’ account, Davis’ track record in town is pretty good.
“He’s very familiar with Forest Park,” said Hoskins. “He knows that our park district intends to expand in order to provide additional recreational options for youth. We talk frequently and I enjoy strong relationships with his staff in Chicago and the staff that focus on suburban issues.”
That’s comforting, seeing as how he’s the only U.S. rep in town, now; and we have a commissioner that appears to have an in with him.
Hoskins also hinted at some of his own political aspirations when he told us that Davis “encouraged me to run for the Illinois House of Representatives 7th District seat since it looks like [state] Rep. Karen Yarbrough may be running for something else.”
“He said that if Karen Yarbrough decides not to run for her seat then, in his opinion, I’d be the best person to represent the district,” Hoskins added.
Hopefully Davis will continue to be as good to Forest Park as Hoskins noted he’s been. Here’s to the future, Congressman.