WOODLAWN — Community activist Jeanette Taylor beat out opponent Nicole Johnson in the 20th Ward race.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Taylor won about 60 percent of the vote, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. Johnson won 40 percent of the vote.
Taylor, a youth development coordinator with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization who led the Dyett High School hunger strike, and Johnson, a former CPS teacher who has worked as a manager at Teamwork Englewood and Chicago Votes, emerged from a crowded field of candidates that aimed to replace disgraced Ald. Willie Cochran.
Taylor celebrated with family and supporters at Ariel Joseph Art Gallery, 6223 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
“I plan on assembling a transition team that includes everyone throughout the ward,” Taylor said. “Everyone in the ward gets a copy of the budget and the projects happening in the ward.
“We’ve got to come together … . We have to fight behind closed doors and go outside and be a united front.”
This was the first run for office for both women. Taylor was inspired to run after she found herself dissatisfied with former President Barack Obama’s response to signing a Community Benefits Agreement for his presidential library. She soon won the support of several local groups, including United Working Families, the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Already, Taylor is ready to take the fight for a CBA to City Hall, where she plans to hold Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot to her campaign promises.
“[Lightfoot] better support [the CBA] because she’s got a city to deal with,” Taylor said. “[Preckwinkle and Lightfoot] both said they agreed to it. The same way they brought people down there to say they wanted it, the same thing I’m going to do to bring people down to say we want those protections.”
Nine candidates ran in the Feb. 26 election: Taylor won 28.8 percent of the vote, Johnson won 22 percent, Kevin M. Bailey won 16.2 percent, Maya Hodari won 9.4 percent, Andre Smith won 8 percent, Anthony Driver Jr. won 6.5 percent, Jennifer O. Maddox won 6.2 percent, Quandra V. Speights won 2.1 percent; and Dernard D. Newell won about 1 percent. As the top two vote-getters, Taylor and Johnson advanced to the April 2 runoff.
The seat was left vacant by Cochran, who officially resigned last month after pleading guilty to wire fraud.Cochran was first elected to the seat in 2007.
The 20th Ward includes all or parts of Washington Park, Woodlawn, West Englewood, Back of the Yards and Park Manor.
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