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'Meet Your Representatives Night' Brings Together State and City Officials

By Patty Wetli | September 23, 2013 10:43am
 Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) meets with members of The Residents of Irving Park.
Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) meets with members of The Residents of Irving Park.
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Facebook/The Residents of Irving Park

ALBANY PARK — Between email and social media, it's a rare occurrence these days to have a chat with an elected official that doesn't involve a hash tag.

While face-to-face may seem a quaint, outmoded form of interaction, it's also often the most effective way for people to convey their issues to their state and local legislators. That's why nearly half a dozen community groups in Albany Park and Irving Park have teamed up to host a joint "Meet Your Representatives"  night at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Mercy, 4432 N. Troy Ave.

"It's a way to give people an opportunity to engage on a level they don't normally," said Gretchen Helmreich, president of the Horner Park West Neighborhood Association.

Scheduled to participate in the moderated forum: State Senate President John Cullerton (D-6th), State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-20th), State Rep. Ann Williams (D-11th), Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) and Ald. Rey Colon (35th).

Attendees will be split into two groups: one will join a moderated session with state legislators while the other group speaks with the aldermen. After a half-hour, attendees will switch places.

General topics open for discussion include pension reform, education, public safety and business development.

The evening is being co-hosted by Horner Park West Neighborhood Association, Irving Park East Neighborhood Association, The Residents of Irving Park, People of East Albany Park and Albany Park Neighbors.

"We're all neighbors in the same area," said Misha Mann, president of The Residents of Irving Park. Issues don't stop "at an imaginary line."