Aurora Democrat chosen to run for DuPage County Board seat

Aurora Democrat Saba Haider will run as the party's hand-picked nominee for a DuPage County Board seat in the November election.

Haider was chosen by DuPage's Democratic organization to replace former incumbent Amy Chavez on the general election ballot. Chavez dropped her reelection bid because her family is moving out of state. The first-term Naperville Democrat officially stepped down from her District 5 seat on the county board earlier this week.

Haider was nominated by the district's precinct committee people to fill the ballot spot left vacant by Chavez's resignation. Haider unsuccessfully ran in a crowded school board race in Indian Prairie District 204 last year.

"I believe that it is important for us to move DuPage County forward in a safe, sustainable and sensible direction," Haider said Friday.

Haider said she offers the perspective of an independent business owner who had to adapt to the realities of the pandemic. Haider teaches yoga meditation and trains people to become instructors. She moved to the United States from India in 2007 and has several thousand social media followers.

"It is important for me to focus on mental health," Haider said. "We are just coming out of a pandemic, so we have to make sure that we provide the tools, we provide the services, we provide the infrastructure to be able to meet the mental health needs of our community, of our county."

With her victory in 2020, Chavez helped Democrats take control of the board for the first time since the Great Depression. Democrats now hold 11 of the 18 board seats.

County board Chairman Dan Cronin, with the advice and consent of the county board, will appoint someone to finish the remainder of Chavez's term, which ends in December. The deadline for those interested in applying to fill the seat was Tuesday.

"We received five applications to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Member Chavez," Cronin said in a statement. "I am currently reviewing the materials submitted and interviewing applicants."

Under state election law, a new board member must be appointed within 60 days of a resignation and must be from the same political party.

Cronin said the plan is to bring forward a candidate at the first county board meeting in September.

Haider said she would like to be appointed now and made her pitch to Cronin.

"What I told him is that if appointed, I think this will give me a unique opportunity to start learning the ways of the board," she said.

Haider enters the race with less than four months until Election Day. She will have to quickly assemble a campaign team as she joins incumbents Sadia Covert and Dawn DeSart on the Democratic ticket for three available District 5 seats.

Local Republican leaders, meanwhile, also have to pick a new District 5 candidate to run in place of Rich Janor, who was selected by GOP officials to take on Democratic incumbent Janet Yang Rohr in the 41st state House District.

Two other Republican county board hopefuls - Janice Anderson, a former county board member from Naperville, and Patricia "Patty" Gustin, a sitting Naperville city councilwoman - are vying for District 5 seats. The district stretches from Aurora to Woodridge.

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