Civic Betterment slate chosen for spring election in Glen Ellyn

  • Trustee Mark Senak has received the Civic Betterment Party endorsement in his re-election bid.

      Trustee Mark Senak has received the Civic Betterment Party endorsement in his re-election bid. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, April 2018

  • Kelli Christiansen

    Kelli Christiansen

  • Steve Thompson

    Steve Thompson

Updated 12/3/2018 2:25 PM

The Glen Ellyn Civic Betterment Party has awarded its influential endorsement to three village board candidates who will be seen as front-runners in the April election.

The party slate emerged after a caucus-style town hall Saturday and two rounds of early voting. The 87-year-old nominating organization will endorse the top vote-getters -- incumbent Mark Senak, Kelli Christiansen and Steve Thompson -- for three open trustee spots on the village board in the April election.


Senak, an attorney, led the pack with 334 votes in a five-way race. Christiansen, who earned the party's nod for a library board seat and won in 2013, had 317 votes. Thompson, a sales executive and board president of the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce for the past two years, garnered 285 votes.

Two other candidates, Patrick Escalante, a former Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board member, and Matthew Jones, a zoning board of appeals member, did not capture a nomination.

With few exceptions, the party-backed candidates rarely face opposition and almost always prevail in municipal elections, effectively making the biennial town hall a primary. It's also unusual for Glen Ellyn officials to serve more than one term, though Senak is running for re-election.

The candidates presented to voters at the town hall were interviewed and chosen by a 17-person nominating committee, a volunteer group of nearly 20 officers and members who represent five districts in Glen Ellyn. Founded in 1931, the party has no platform and aims to level the playing field by helping candidates seek office without having to run expensive campaigns.

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The Civic Betterment candidates will receive the party's assistance in filing nominating petitions to get their names on the April ballot. Other candidates still can take on the Civic Betterment nominees by submitting petitions with the village clerk's office during a filing period that opens Dec. 10, and continues through Dec. 17.

The three board seats up for election are held by Senak, John Kenwood and Pete Ladesic. Kenwood is abiding to tradition by voluntarily stepping down after one term, though he may consider a run for a board seat in two years.

Ladesic won a third term in 2015 without the party's backing after running an independent campaign, duplicating a feat he accomplished in 2007. Ladesic, who did not immediately return a phone message Monday, said last month he was still mulling whether to try for a fourth term, then run for village president when that post is up for election in 2021. He also has considered stepping down after his current board term expires and launching a bid for the village's top elected position in two years.

As for the library board, the party nominees for four available seats are Molly McGinnis Knapke, Molly Hoerster, Tim Brinker and Karen Volk.

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