Second term win for 2nd Ward incumbent

By Heather McGraw

Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward) will begin his second term in office in May after winning a majority vote in the recent municipal elections, beating out four

other candidates.

Fioretti received 55 percent of the votes on Feb. 22, allowing him to avoid a runoff election in April. Genita Robinson came in second in the election, with nearly 31 percent of the vote, followed by Melissa Callahan, with more than 4 percent. Jim Bosco, who appeared on the ballot but gave his endorsement to Federico Sciammarella, had 1 percent.

“This is a great ward,” Fioretti said. “It’s a microcosm of the city of Chicago, and it reflects all the diversities in the city. I truly am honored and humbled to represent the ward.”

At an event at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash Ave., Fioretti addressed the media shortly after polls closed on Feb. 22, discussing his victory and recent treatment of cancer of the tonsils. According to Tom Gradel, his spokesman, Fioretti has finished treatment for the Nov. 1 diagnosis.

“[Fioretti] said his doctors told him they got all of the cancer, and he will be able to return to health with his full strength and energy,” Gradel said. “He will be able to handle his job as alderman without any difficulty.”

Fioretti has held the position since 2007 when he was elected by a 66 percent vote in an April runoff against incumbent Madeline Haithcock.

According to Fioretti, his goals for the coming term include completing the projects he started while in office. Gradel said Fioretti’s most important priorities are the same things he has worked on for the past four years.

His top four priorities—outlined by Gradel—are job creation and retention and improving things like public education, public safety and infrastructure.

“These are what the community has expressed either overtly or the things they present, but that’s what they want,” Gradel said. “Not only does he want to focus on them, they’re the most important thing and

they’re central.”

Fioretti’s opponent Sciammarella, who won more than 4 percent of the vote, said he was not surprised by the election results.

“It’s a matter of being able to turn out people to vote,” he said. “Obviously when you’re the incumbent, you have certain structures and organizations in place to make that very easy to do.”

According to Sciammarella, with all of the pending budget deficits, education needs to remain a top priority

for Fioretti.

“I think that’s going to be very critical,” Sciammarella said. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that our children need an education, and that’s the only way we’re going to be able to get ourselves out of this

economic mess.”

Sciammarella, an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Northern Illinois University, said while he has no immediate plans to run for office again, he will remain involved in the ward.

“I will definitely keep my ear to the ground in terms of the issues of the ward and maybe become a bigger spokesperson if so called upon,” he said.

Robinson will return to her position as executive director of the Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth program, which supports and promotes one-on-one mentoring programs, but she plans to eventually run for office again.

Robinson said she is happy with the campaign she ran and she thinks name recognition plays an important role whenever an incumbent is in the race.

Sciammarella and Robinson agreed it is important for Fioretti to maintain open communication with 2nd Ward residents.

The alderman said he has included his constituents in every significant decision that has had an impact on their lives and will continue to do so through meetings and creation of groups and organizations.

Fioretti said he thinks he won because residents are happy with the job he has done in office and he encouraged the other candidates to remain involved in the ward.

Although Fioretti did not want to speculate on what the future might hold for him after the upcoming term, he said he loves the challenges and the people of this ward.

“I’ve always said one of the best jobs in the city of Chicago is being alderman in the second ward,” Fioretti said.