Des Plaines council candidates explain why they're running

Candidates for seats on the Des Plaines City Council expressed different reasons for running in the April 6 election.

Seats representing the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th wards will be on ballots. All carry 4-year terms.

Nine of the 10 candidates discussed their motivations and other issues with the Daily Herald during remotely held endorsement interviews.

The tenth - 1st Ward incumbent Mark Lysakowski - didn't participate in the endorsement sessions and hasn't responded to repeated interview requests. Lysakowski is facing a write-in campaign from Gloria Ludwig in the 1st Ward.

Ludwig, a business owner who served as city clerk from 2009 to 2017, said she's running to give residents another choice for alderman. She said her eight years of service as clerk and the relationships she created with residents and local organizations "will be an asset to the 1st Ward."

Ludwig previously has said Lysakowski's January arrest on a driving under the influence charge in Mount Prospect also inspired her to run. Lysakowski is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

In the 3rd Ward, four candidates - Eugene Fregetto, Shawn T. Killian, Sean Oskerka and Norbert J. Paprocki - are vying to replace incumbent Denise Rodd, who isn't seeking reelection.

Fregetto said he's running to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A retired professor of entrepreneurship, he pledged to be a "very strong advocate for the small business community."

Killian, a credit union employee, said he wants to improve the relationship between the 3rd Ward aldermanic office and local residents. He advocates for downtown revitalization, too.

"I'd like to help lead the city to a more prosperous place," Killian said. "I'm passionate about making Des Plaines the best that it can be."

Paprocki, a fabrication manager with a lighting company, said he's "passionate" about Des Plaines. He's happy with the progress made in the last eight years and wants to continue moving the city forward "and give it some direction."

Oskerka, an emergency room nurse, said he wants to give younger residents a voice at city hall. He hopes to help attract new small businesses to Des Plaines, too.

The 5th Ward contest features incumbent Carla Brookman and challenger Jennifer Nutley.

Brookman is seeking a second consecutive term as alderman, having last been elected in 2017. She also served on the council from 1997 to 2009.

Brookman said she and the other elected officials in Des Plaines want to do what's best for residents. She talked of her experience with National Night Out, a community exercise program and other efforts.

Nutley, an internal bank auditor and project manager, said she wants to help build a better downtown and be a better voice for the 5th Ward. She touted her volunteer experience in local schools and with youth and community programs.

In the 7th Ward, Patricia L. Smith faces Christopher Wozniczka. Incumbent Don Smith isn't seeking reelection.

Patricia Smith cited the need for downtown revitalization as a personal political motivation. She touted her experience as a retired business owner and as a church and community volunteer.

Wozniczka said everyone should give back to their community, saying such service is a civic duty.

"If you really care about a city, you've got to be involved," he said.

Wozniczka said he hopes to bridge the gap between local businesses and residents.

Races for mayor and city clerk in Des Plaines are on the ballot, too.

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Des Plaines 1st Ward aldermanic candidates Gloria Ludwig, left, and Alderman Mark Lysakowski.
Des Plaines 3rd Ward aldermanic candidates, upper from left, Eugene Fregetto and Shawn T. Killian, and lower from left, Sean Oskerka and Norbert J. Paprocki.
Des Plaines 7th Ward aldermanic candidates Patricia L. Smith, left, and Christopher Wozniczka.
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