Lester: Democrats seek to unseat mayor who hosted Trump fundraiser

Democrats dismayed by Donald Trump's presidential victory are focusing their energy on unseating longtime Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, an ardent Trump backer who hosted a fundraiser for him in September.

Three-term Will County board member Jackie Traynere was part of a group protesting at the fundraiser at the Bolingbrook Golf Club and said that got the ball rolling for her to file nominating petitions to run in the April 4 election.

"The group continued to meet, and they said, you know, it's time. Somebody needs to run," Traynere said. "I thought about it, and remembered my father always taught me, 'Don't point your finger at someone because then there are three of them pointing back at you.' Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do." Traynere's been a Bolingbrook resident since 1970, works as a union organizer and owns a cleaning business with her husband.

Claar, who's making plans to attend Trump's inauguration Jan. 20, says his 30 years as mayor show he has the backing of the local electorate. He also points out that municipal elections are nonpartisan.

"There's no such thing as a Republican pothole or Democratic pothole," he says. "These are local issues, not national or international or even state (issues)."

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Democrat Jackie Traynere, a Will County board member and Bolingbrook mayoral candidate

Helping out

Democrats offering to help Traynere include members of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's campaign, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster's office and the Will County Democrats. They point to election results showing more than 60 percent of Bolingbrook residents voted for Clinton in the November election.

But it's likely Claar also is picking up more help. "I believe there's a good support base for me out there," he says.

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  Loren "Duke" Abdalla, 91, of Fox Lake died Sunday without receiving the Medal of Honor. Steve Lundy/

Duke's passing

I'm sorry to report that Fox Lake veteran Loren "Duke" Abdalla died of cancer Sunday at age 91.

You've read here about the quest to get him the Medal of Honor many say he deserved for his heroism in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. Abdalla is the great-grandson of Chief Running Bull and a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe who said his American Indian ancestry impeded official recognition in the years after the war.

Abdalla, awarded a Purple Heart for his actions in the Battle of Peleliu, offhandedly mentioned his military record a few years ago to Waukegan attorney and fellow Marine veteran Rick Daniels, who put the effort in motion to get Abdalla the Medal of Honor.

Grandson Douglas Nykolaycuyk tells me he plans to "continue and see this through" in the hopes the medal can be awarded posthumously.

Services for Abdalla are at 5 p.m. Sunday at Hamsher Lakeside Funerals and Cremations, 12 N. Pistakee Lake Road, Fox Lake.

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Challenger Kim Foxx, right, smiles at the crowd as her daughter Kai wipes tears from her eyes. They were celebrating Foxx's primary election win in March over incumbent Democratic Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Associated Press Photo

Settling into office

New Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx tells me that the she made a point of letting 13-year-old daughter Kai be the first to sit in her desk chair as she took office last week. You might remember a picture of the teen crying from both pride and fatigue after Foxx's primary election victory last spring. Foxx tells me that in recent months, Kai adjusted to life on the campaign trail and also "learned not to cry in public anymore." Foxx says her daughter left a number of letters inside her desk at the Cook County administration building for mom to open in the weeks to come.

<h3 class="leadin">Maine South heads to D.C.

Congratulations to Maine South High School for taking first place in the state finals of the Illinois Center for Civics Education's "We the People" competition Dec. 2. Eight teams competed on knowledge of the Constitution, solid arguments and team participation on topics ranging from immigration policy to protections under the Bill of Rights, and challenges to American Democracy in the 21st century.

I had a blast in my second year as a judge, this time alongside American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Ed Yohnka of Arlington Heights. The Park Ridge school heads to the national finals in April in Washington, D.C.

<h3 class="leadin">Wheaton tops list

Wheaton College is No. 2 in Christian Universities Online's ranking for college excellence.

"Nearly 10 percent of all students enrolled at Wheaton College come from either missionary or third-culture backgrounds and 20 percent of students represent ethnic minority groups," the organization notes. For more on the rankings, visit

Demonstrators protest as Trump visits Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook mayor hosted Trump, will go to inauguration

Lester: ‘Duke’ in hospice as fight for Medal of Honor continues

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