44 of 59 candidates endorsed by Central Labor Council elected
By CARL GREEN
Union-endorsed candidates had some success in the April 4 municipal election in the Metro-East, highlighted by a candidate for mayor in prosperous O’Fallon, IL.
Six-year Alderman Herb Roach, 70, an avowed union supporter, defeated the city clerk, Phil Goodwin, with 54 percent of the vote. The incumbent mayor, Gary Graham, chose not to run again after serving in the job since 1997.
Roach had appeared before the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council to seek support and was endorsed by the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council.
Labor-backed candidates won four other positions in O’Fallon. Jerry Mouser was elected clerk, Mark Morton was elected 4th Ward alderman, Andrew Lopinot 5th Ward alderman and Dan Witt 7th Ward alderman. All were endorsed by the Labor Council. Only one Labor-backed candidate lost in O’Fallon, Dennis Muyleart in the 1st Ward.
In a race where victory was expected but supporters were still concerned, Belleville’s incumbent mayor, union-backed Mark Eckert, easily won re-election over City Clerk Dallas Cook. Eckert also had appeared before the Trades Council and was endorsed by the Central Labor Council.
Labor-supported Jennifer Gain Meyer was elected to replace Cook as clerk.
Among aldermen, four Labor-backed candidates defeated their opponents, one lost and three were unopposed among the eight seats in the election. The alderman will be Ken Kinsella, 1st Ward; Jane Pusa, 2nd Ward; Johnnie Anthony, 3rd Ward; Michelle Schaefer, 5th Ward; Mary Stiehl, 6th Ward; Dennis Weygandt, 7th Ward; and Roger Barfield, 8th Ward.
Millstadt Mayor Mike Todd, who is also a union leader, was re-elected. Union-backed clerk candidate Christine Pipik and trustee candidates Michael French, Al Lehr and Mark Todd all won.
In Caseyville, union-backed G.W. Scott defeated two other candidates for mayor while two other union-endorsed candidates, Wally Abernathy and Brenda Williams, were elected trustees.
In Caseyville Township, all seven Labor-backed candidates won, including Richard Donovan as supervisor.
In Swansea, Michael Leopold was elected mayor with Labor’s support.
Labor-backed candidates also won numerous offices in St. Clair Township and Stookey Township, although not the supervisor candidates.
Overall, the Central Labor Council endorsed 59 candidates and 44 of them, or 75 percent, were elected.
GLEN CARBON LOSS
In Madison County, it wasn’t so clear cut, but one obvious Labor supporter, Steve Slemer, lost in his bid to unseat Glen Carbon Mayor Rob Jackstadt.
Jackstadt has been mayor since 2005 and said this would be his last term.
Nick Dodson, president of Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 360 and a member of both councils, said union members missed an opportunity by not electing Slemer in Glen Carbon.
“There was an issue up there a year or so ago with the Project Labor Agreement,” he told the Labor Council last week. “They were doing everything in their power to do away with it, but Slemer led the charge for it. We had a big meeting up there and because of him, we got to save the PLAs.
“I hope Labor realizes we’ve got to support the guys who go out on a limb for us.
“We’re going to have to understand that these elections mean something,” Dodson added. “We have to get our people back in office, and the people we have left in office, we have to keep them there.”
Incumbent mayors being re-elected over challengers in Madison County were Ed Hagnauer of Granite City, Al Adomite of Troy, Tyrone Echols of Venice, John Hamm of Madison and Brant Walker of Alton. The Greater Madison County Federation of Labor does not endorse in municipal elections.
The Illinois AFL-CIO also reported victories for mayoral candidates it had endorsed including Tom McNamara in Rockford, Chasity Wells-Armstrong in Kankakee, Reggie Freeman in East Moline, Tari Renner in Bloomington, Chris Koos in Normal, Julie Moore Wolfe in Decatur and Eckert in Belleville as well.