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Deb Mell Has Competition in Bid to Replace Father as 33rd Ward Alderman

By Ted Cox | July 12, 2013 4:23pm | Updated on July 12, 2013 5:53pm
 Elizabeth Gomez is among the challengers to state Rep. Deb Mell for the 33rd Ward seat occupied by Ald. Richard Mell.
Elizabeth Gomez is among the challengers to state Rep. Deb Mell for the 33rd Ward seat occupied by Ald. Richard Mell.
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CITY HALL — Deb Mell has some competition in her bid to replace her father, Ald. Richard Mell, in the City Council.

The Mayor's Office on Friday released a list of a dozen candidates being considered to fill the seat of the retiring 33rd Ward alderman, including his daughter state Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago).

The list includes Rep. Mell, along with Robert Elrick, Elizabeth Gomez, Gretchen Helmreich, Jonathan Markel, Maellen Pittman-Fernandez, Grace Rink, Edmund Sieracki, Matthew Terry, Andrew Tinajero, Annisa Wanat and Sergiusz Zgrzebski.

Gomez is a staffer in the office of Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and a Windy City Rollers women's roller-derby alumna who went by the name Juanna Rumbel.

Zgrzebski is a reporter at Comcast's Polvision, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The dozen candidates are expected to be winnowed down to a handful of finalists by a screening committee selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who will then appoint his choice. It's the same basic process he used to appoint Natashia Holmes to fill the 7th Ward seat vacated by Sandi Jackson earlier this year.

Emanuel has praised Rep. Mell, but has not yet anointed her to replace her father. Emanuel has said he is looking for a reform-minded public servant who will represent the entire ward. Yet some Albany Park residents have complained about the lack of local representation on the screening committee.

According to an academic study of the city's new ward remap written by Illinois Institute of Technology researchers, the population for the 2015 election increased to just over 40 percent Hispanic against approximately the same of whites, with a smattering of Asian- and African-Americans.

Mell, who has represented the 33rd Ward since 1975, announced his retirement last week, effective July 24, date of the regularly scheduled monthly council meeting. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he intends to seat his selection at that session.