Despite some very public disagreements over the last few years, Village Commissioner Rory Hoskins has endorsed incumbent Mayor Anthony Calderone for re-election.

Hoskins, who was the leading vote-getter in the last two village council races, is not running for re-election to the village council after serving on the council for the last eight years. In 2012, Hoskins ran for state representative and lost to Chris Welch by only 36 votes in the Democratic primary. Calderone supported Welch in that campaign.

Hoskins’ endorsement of Calderone, which had been rumored for some time, carries significant weight because Hoskins is the most prominent black elected official in Forest Park. The endorsement is also noteworthy because Calderone and Hoskins have had some very public spats over the last few years and because four years ago Hoskins endorsed Calderone’s opponent, Marty Tellalian.

“I’m backing Tony because of his understanding of Forest Park, his record for bringing resources to our community, and because we share the same position on video gaming,” Hoskins wrote in an email to the Forest Park Review.

Hoskins also challenged the main argument of Chris Harris, Calderone’s opponent.

The main theme of Harris’s campaign is that Forest Park has become stagnant under Calderone.

“It’s incorrect to assert that Forest Park is stagnant,” Hoskins said in his email. “In 2014, our lobbying efforts helped to secure considerable amounts in grant resources. We’re now set to make long-awaited cosmetic improvements to Roosevelt Road as well as to Madison Street. Similarly, the park district will soon break ground at the Roos site. It should also be noted that the village recently expanded the TIF boundaries along Roosevelt.”

Hoskins said that Calderone has promised to respect the results of the 2013 advisory referendum where voters by a 2-1 margin opposed allowing video gaming in Forest Park. 

“I cannot be certain that the other mayoral candidate would not bring an ordinance to repeal the gaming ban, in the event that he identifies two votes other than his own,” Hoskins wrote. “By contrast, I fully expect that Tony Calderone will put the interests of our town’s residents over the interests of bar owners. 

“In this election, Tony Calderone is the better choice. He has the respect of our employees and department heads and other stakeholders.”

Calderone is happy to have Hoskins’s support.

“I’m very gratified and very thankful,” he said.

Chris Harris suggested that Hoskins’ endorsement of Calderone is part of a political deal in which Calderone would support Hoskins if Hoskins runs again for the state legislature. Harris also said that Hoskins decided not to run for Cook County Commissioner last year after a meeting with Calderone, Congressman Danny Davis and Richard Boykin, Davis’ former chief of staff and ultimate winner of that race. Hoskins ultimately supported Boykin in that race.

“Deals were made long ago in the Boykin race, the Cook County Commissioner race when Rory stepped down,” Harris said. “[It’s] all politics for a bigger game.”

Calderone and Hoskins say that no deals were made in exchange for the endorsement. Calderone denied taking part in any meeting with Hoskins, Davis and Boykin about the county commissioner race.

“There’s no deal between me and Rory Hoskins,” Calderone said. “I believe that Rory Hoskins is sincere and genuine in his endorsement of me, and I believe that to be because he appreciates me despite the fact that we are both adults and we both know that from time to time we may have differing opinions and that certainly has been the case in the past. But that part’s history, has been history.”

Hoskins also denied that any deals were made for his endorsement.

“The endorsement that I’m making of Mayor Calderone is based solely on the comparison of Tony Calderone and Chris Harris, nothing else,” said Hoskins, adding that he does not plan to take any active part in the mayoral campaign, which is entering its final week.

“If people ask me who I’m endorsing, I’ll tell them, but I’m not taking overt action to publicize it,” Hoskins said.

Calderone supported Hoskins when Hoskins first ran for the village council eight years, but over the years the relationship between them seemed to deteriorate. They had disagreements over a number of issues and some felt that Calderone sometimes displayed a patronizing attitude toward Hoskins.

Harris said that many of the people who supported Hoskins in the past are working on his mayoral campaign and many of Hoskins’ supporters will be disappointed by his support of Calderone.

“I think it might create confusion,” Harris said. “I think it might create some disappointment in people who were Rory supporters. There are a lot people working on my campaign who worked on his state rep campaign. They may be a little disappointed by that.”

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