By Nona Tepper
Nine candidates are officially running for village commissioner and two candidates have thrown their name in the ring for the mayor's race. The final day to challenge candidates' nominating petitions was Dec. 26. No challenges were made, according to Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz.
That is a change from previous elections — for both elected positions and proposed referendums — where challengers questioned everything from the number of candidate signatures collected to the way petitions were bound. Four commissioner seats will be up for election in April 2019, along with the mayor's seat.
For the village's top spot, Rory Hoskins announced his mayoral ambitions in October. Hoskins previously served as village commissioner, is president of the Proviso Township Democratic Organization, and in 2012 came in second in a tight race for state representative of the 7th District, losing to Emanuel "Chris" Welch by 36 votes. He would be the first African-American mayor to represent Forest Park.
He faces Chris Harris, a former village commissioner who challenged Mayor Anthony Calderone for the top spot in 2015. Harris submitted papers for both commissioner and mayor this round but has since withdrawn his nominating petitions for the commissioner spot.
Harris declined to comment on why he decided to focus on the mayor's post. He said he will announce his positions sometime in early 2019.
For commissioner, candidates Jessica Voogd, a buyer and set decorator for TV and film productions; Mark Boroughf, owner of a commercial printing firm; Jon Robert Kubricht, a local property investor who owns an imported jewelry store in Chicago; and Julianne Bonwit, a stay-at-home mother and former social worker, have formed a slate and are campaigning in support of Hoskins for mayor.
As independents, incumbents Joe Byrnes, who works part-time at the Park District of Forest Park, and Daniel Novak, superintendent of special facilities at the Wheaton Park District, are seeking re-election. Former commissioner Martin Tellalian, manager at an engineering firm, is also seeking election to his older post. Ryan Russ, maintenance foreman at the park district, and Ryan Nero, director of safety at a construction firm, are also seeking election for the first-time to commissioner seats.