New Naperville mayor: Chirico cruises to victory

Business owner Steve Chirico won the four-way race for Naperville mayor to replace the retiring George Pradel and become the first new person to lead the city in 20 years.

Chirico finished with 11,069 votes in unofficial election results with all 112 precincts reporting in DuPage and Will counties.

"Naperville respects an honest and positive campaign and they respect that process and I'm glad that they responded to it," Chirico said Tuesday night after thanking his supporters.

Chirico defeated Doug Krause, Marty Walker and Jim Haselhorst to become Naperville's mayor-elect. Krause, a 67-year-old real estate broker who has been on the city council for 26 years, finished with 5,332 votes. Walker, a 62-year-old retired Carol Stream firefighter, got 1,382. Haselhorst, a dental practice manager, came in last with 461.

Chirico, 54, and a Naperville native who graduated from Naperville Central High School, will be the city's first new mayor in two decades after Pradel, who took office in 1995, chose not to run for another 4-year term.

The owner of Great Western Flooring and a 4-year city council member, Chirico said he wants to transition the office from filling a largely ceremonial role of presiding over city council meetings and ribbon-cuttings into taking a leadership position for regional and state policy.

Chirico said Tuesday night one early focus should be on filling retail and commercial vacancies, such as those along Ogden Avenue between Naper Boulevard and Washington Street. He said he'll form a task force to address vacancies and set a tone that the city is serious about solving the problem.

"It's the time to start a more defined focus on our local economy," Chirico said. "We need to start to focus on a new community that's now a maintenance community and not a growing community."

He said the first step will be to meet one-on-one with each newly elected council member, including Paul Hinterlong, Patty Gustin, Rebecca Boyd-Obarski, Becky Anderson, Kevin Gallaher, Judith Brodhead, Kevin Coyne and John Colletti, to share his vision for the city and hear theirs.

Naperville elects 'great, diverse group' of eight city council members

  Retiring Naperville Mayor George Pradel congratulates Mayor-elect Steve Chirico on Tuesday night as Chirico celebrates his victory with supporters at Rosebud Italian Specialties. Mark Black/
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