Bankole wins trustee seat against Hanover Park slate
Yasmeen Bankole has won a trustee seat on the Hanover Park village board, displacing a candidate on Mayor Rod Craig's otherwise successful slate, according to unofficial results.
Also winning 4-year trustee seats were fellow newcomer Syed Hussaini and incumbent Bob Prigge.
Craig was unchallenged in his reelection bid. Others on his Hanover Park Strong slate who faced no opposition were incumbent Liza Gutierrez for a 2-year trustee seat and newcomer Kristy Merrill for clerk.
Bankole, 27, said she's proud of the youthful outlook she can bring to the board but also of her experience in government and professional relationships from her job as an outreach coordinator for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin,
"I did feel like I had to work twice as hard," Bankole said. "I'd think, 'Is this enough? I think it's enough.'"
She hopes running an independent, grass-roots campaign in the winter during a pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"I'd ring the doorbell and take several steps back," she said. "If someone answers the door, you scream through your mask and keep it short and sweet."
Working as an outreach coordinator gave her important experience in speaking to many different kinds of people, which she believes will continue to be useful as a trustee.
Bankole said her election helps make the village board more representative of the diverse population of Hanover Park.
"I think we're definitely getting there," she said. "I am just so honored to even be in this position and ready to get to work."
Though only 30 votes separated Bankole from Hanover Park Strong slate member Tonya Frosheiser as of Thursday, Craig said there are no plans to seek a recount. In fact, he's already reached out to Bankole.
"I'm always optimistic that new people are going to be willing to work together," Craig said. "We ran a very clean campaign. We didn't set out to demean anyone."
Craig complimented the energy Bankole demonstrated during the campaign that she is now poised to bring to the board.
"I'm very impressed by her enthusiasm and her willingness to take part in policymaking for the village," he said. "She probably walked the whole town three times. That isn't anything I could do. It's a tribute to her youthfulness."
Craig also spoke of the strengths he believes the other two winning candidates bring to the board.
Hussaini is another whose professional experience -- as a senior vice president of commercial lending in the banking industry -- is expected to be of help to his fellow board members.
"He's going to bring a lot of credibility to our budget review process," Craig said.
Prigge's thorough preparation for every issue has already been shown, he said. Though often quiet, Prigge speaks up when there's a detail that others are missing in a pending decision, he said.
Craig said his biggest disappointment from the election was its low voter turnout.
"I'd love to have half the town vote, but they don't seem to want to come out for municipal elections," he said.
In the 4-year trustee race, Hussaini received 905 votes, Prigge 877, Bankole 859, Frosheiser 829 and Shahjahan 760.