Wednesday, March 19, 2014, OAK PARK || By Michael Romain
“You want it, you got it,” said Richard Boykin, moments after being declared the winner in the Democratic primary race for First District Cook County Commissioner.
According to the Wednesday Journal, as of 10:40pm, “with 10 percent of precincts still to report, Boykin, a lawyer/lobbyist and former chief of staff to Davis (D-Chicago), had received 30.5 percent of the vote; [Blake] Sercye, who had the backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 26 percent; former Chicago Ald. Isaac “Ike” Carothers won 22.5 percent on the strength of his West Side vote total; Brenda Smith, a former staffer for Carothers and a current staff member for Collins had 17 percent; and Lawless, an Oak Park resident and community activist, 4 percent.”
“I want to thank Proviso Township,” Boykin said. “The suburbs were pretty good to us, especially out in Proviso,” he said before thanking current Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Proviso Township Democratic Committeewoman Karen Yarbrough, who handily won her own primary battle for the committeewoman position against Maywood basketball legend James “Papa” Brewer.
Mr. Boykin was flanked on a foot-high stage inside the Carleton of Oak Park’s Grand Ballroom by Yarbrough; Congressman Danny K. Davis; State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch; former Oak Park President David Pope; and current Oak Park trustees Bob Tucker and Adam Salzman, among other high level supporters.
Congressman Danny K. Davis, whom Mr. Boykin referred to as his mentor and father figure, introduced the candidate as someone “who believes what he believes.”
Interspersed throughout what was a rather freewheeling, at times off-the-cuff, victory speech, Mr. Boykin thanked various members of his campaign staff, politicians who offered endorsements and his campaign chairman, Dr. Willie Wilson, a successful entrepreneur and Gospel singer–while also repeating campaign platitudes.
“I stand before you humbled and inspired,” he said. “This victory isn’t my victory, this is our victory, just like its our community. I cannot wait to get to work to make sure it’s a better community….by lowering property taxes and keeping sales taxes where they are or lower. You see, government at its best isn’t about the people who serve in government, it’s about the people government serves and the lives we need to help change, the jobs we need to create, the families who deserve to feel safe in the streets and children who deserve nothing but the best of schools. I’m ready to take on anyone who stands in the way of progress and ready to work with anyone who shares our hunger for change.
“We had a great ground game today, where we got the voters out in spite of a low voter turnout….We got a call from Blake Sercye and he conceded….We look forward to working with him going forward on issues that impact the first district. We’re going to work with everybody, no matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat. We’re looking forward to working with Congressman Davis at the federal level and leveraging some of those resources in Washington for the first district…We still got to win in November, so let’s celebrate and get to work tomorrow.”
Less than half a mile away in Oak Park, at the restaurant Maya del Sol, Blake Sercye, who had come within several hundred votes from pulling off what would have been considered an unlikely victory at the beginning of this campaign, took questions with grace and a resolve that seemed only reinforced by defeat. When asked what he told Mr. Boykin during the difficult concession call, he was straightforward.
“I told him congratulations. He ran a great race and won a great seat,” said Sercye, before noting that his commitment to his home community of Austin is really only beginning.
“I’m not going anywhere.” VFP