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Illinois' 10th District State Representative seat: Ousted Rep Derrick Smith or Lance Tyson?
While Derrick Smith was expelled by 100 to 6 from his appointed seat as the 10th District State Representative, Smith is on the Nov. 6 ballot as the Democratic candidate for that office.
A week after his arrest for a $7,000 bribe to help a day care center obtain a state grant, voters swept him into the Democratic slot for the seat. When he was indicted on the federal charges, to which he has plead not guilty, he not only refused to step down from his seat, he also refused to remove himself from the November ballot.
His refusal to remove himself from the ballot, in the spring, led to the creation of another "political party," the Unity Party. The newly formed third party chose Lance Tyson, though not unanimously, to run on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, led "the party" as its Chair. The rest of the "party" consisted of aldermen who have at least part of their ward in the 10th State District, which runs from Lincoln Park on the east, and moves west including parts of Wicker Park and the West Side. They are Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st Ward; Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward; Michael Chandler, 24th Ward; Roberto Maldonado, 26th Ward; Jesse White, 27th Ward; Jason Ervin, 28th Ward; Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward; Emma Mitts, 37th Ward; and Michele Smith, 43rd Ward.
New allegations have been put forth by White and other Democrats who say they’ve uncovered new evidence of wrongdoing by Smith. Back when Smith was a ward superintendent for the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation, White and others say Smith was fired for a shakedown scheme involving his street crews.
According to election predictors, it is very possible that Smith will win his seat back because most people vote for all democrats on a ballot while others simply believe Smith, who claims innocence.
There are well-known Democrats for and against Smith. While Alderman Roberto Maldonado, who was part of the Unity Party, does not support Smith, he animatedly expresses his opposition of Tyson. His opposition goes back to 2007 when he was a Cook County Board Commissioner and Tyson was an aide to Todd Stroger. Maldonado worked hard to address air quality in the Pilsen and Little Village area because the of impact on residents' health in the area. Maldonado proposed a tax on sulfur dioxide emitters.
Maldonado said at the time, “There is a reason why Chicago is known as the nation’s epicenter of the asthma epidemic. It is not coincidental that we have seen a spike in asthma in areas of Chicago where coal-fired power plants are concentrated.” The Fisk and Crawford generating plants were large sulfur dioxide emitters. The team of Stroger and Tyson would not support the tax.
Maldonado is enraged to see Tyson now wanting to represent the very people whose welfare Tyson once shunned.
Toni Preckwinkle regards Smith as “incompetent at best, a crook at worst,” according to Carol Marin in CapitolFax.com. "I would tell you, I’ve spent the last two years of my life trying to clean up after Todd Stroger.” Marin filled in the rest of Tyson's background, "Tyson was Stroger’s first chief of staff. A former lobbyist for the Daley administration, Tyson took on the job in a muscular way. Or as former county Commissioner Mike Quigley expressed it to the Tribune, in the manner of 'If you’re not with us, you’re against us.'”On the other hand, Gov. Pat Quinn is staunchly in support of Tyson and various ward political teams have been working the streets.