Village Commissioner Rory Hoskins said Tuesday he will not seek a third term. The village’s first African-American commissioner, he received more votes in his first term in 2007 than any other person on the ballot. Hoskins also ran unsuccessfully for 7th District state representative in a four-way primary race in 2013, losing to Emmanuel “Chris” Welch by less than 40 votes. 

Hoskins, who grew up in Galveston, Texas, helped institute the village’s recognition of the Juneteenth holiday, in 2007. The holiday is a tradition celebrated in Galveston for a century and now recognized around the country. Hoskins also started the yearly Juneteenth Pool Party, now run by the Park District of Forest Park, School District 91 and the Kiwanis Club. 

Looking over his past eight years as commissioner, Hoskins said the non-binding referendum on video gambling was one of the council’s best moves.

“It was important to put that issue to the people of Forest Park, and ask for their input,” Hoskins said. 

Hoskins also said he was proud of the council’s work in 2010 to build relationships with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Springfield to help get funding for water main replacements at Harvard Street and Jackson Boulevard. 

That relationship helped pave the way for later infrastructure grants from the state and IDOT, he said. The village got a federal grant with a 20-percent match to make the repairs.

Hoskins said he was privileged to sit in on some of the early discussions about District 91’s implementation of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) behavioral program, which teaches students social skills reinforced with praise for good behavior. The seeds of the program began with a partnership with the Loyola University School of Social Work, which helped implement the program and provided support. 

The PBIS program is now fully integrated in Forest Park schools and used at the library, park district and community center.

Hoskins said the village needs a nudge to have a more racially diverse village hall staff. There are no African-American village employees except in the police department, he said. He hopes to help with the diversity commission mentioned by Mayor Anthony Calderone when the village tabled the “saggy pants” ordinance last month. Hoskins said a good model was the Village of Hanover Park. 

“I’m glad Forest Park hired a Spanish speaking employee, and I support those efforts,” Hoskins said.

In his final four months, Hoskins hopes to help the village nail down brownfield remediation grant money offered through Cook County and use it to help tear down derelict buildings on the Altenheim property. 

Hoskins has often been on the losing side of the council’s 3-to-2 votes over the year, but he doesn’t mind.

“I’m proud I stood up for my principles on the tough votes in the village and voted my conscience,” he said. “I didn’t always go the route of popular vote.”

Who's running for Forest Park Village Council?

With Rory Hoskins out of the race, a spot is open for a new village commissioner. Monday, Dec. 15 is the date to begin submitting candidate petitions for the April 7, 2015 elections. 

Four village commissioners will be elected, based on the four candidates with the most votes. Votes for the office of Forest Park mayor are cast separately. In the 2011 village election, 11 candidates initially threw their hats into the ring, including two for mayor.  

Rachell Entler

Rachell Entler, supervisor for the Park District of Forest Park Recreation Department, was circulating petitions for a run for village commissioner last Friday during the Madison Street Holiday Walk. 

Entler, 38, is the daughter of a retired Forest Park firefighter. She grew up in Forest Park, has two children, and is married to park board President Eric Entler, who is also running for re-election as park commissioner.

"Rachell came to me right away to make sure I was OK with her duties at the park," said parks Executive Director Larry Piekarz. "I'm happy to see her take involvement with the village and community. I think she'd do a great job."

Joe Byrnes

Joe Byrnes, a retired Forest Park police officer and 53-year resident of Forest Park, is also collecting signatures. 

Byrnes, 68, served one term as park district commissioner from 2001-2007. He was also a Forest Park police officer and served as interim police chief in the late 1990s. 

 "I've been here since 1961 and I know the town very well," Byrnes said.  

Incumbent Village Commissioner Chris Harris is collecting signatures for a run for both village commissioner and mayor. He declined Monday to specify which race he'll submit petitions for.

"Some people had asked me to run for mayor, so I was out talking to voters and hearing what they had to say," he said by email.  

In October 2011, incumbent commissioners Mark Hosty and Tom Mannix joined in a three-way fundraising arrangement with Mayor Anthony Calderone. Their campaign fund, Forest Park PAC,  has a balance of $25,000, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. The PAC is run by Forest Park Post publisher Amy Rita.

Other candidates may pop up when the deadline for submitting petitions closes on Dec. 22. 

Jean Lotus

Contact:
Email: jlotus@forestparkreview.com Twitter: @FP_Review

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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