ASHBURN — Just 24 hours after 18th Ward aldermanic candidate Derrick Curtis declared victory, he spent time thanking residents for voting for him.
At L & M Starlight, 8300 S. Kedzie Ave., Curtis greeted the restaurant’s customers early Wednesday afternoon. A stream of supporters kept approaching him, either with phones in camera mode or just to share kind words with him.
Curtis, 46, beat two-term incumbent Lona Lane in Tuesday’s runoff election. The most recent poll data shows Curtis with 67.4 percent of the vote (7,180), while Lane received 3,469 votes, or 36.2 percent.
“I feel great, it’s so exciting that so many people put their trust in me and I’m really going to do my best not to let them down,” he said.
“We’re going to begin the healing process and I really feel good about it," he said. "She has alienated the people, so I’m looking to open the door and make myself accessible to everyone.”
Curtis, who was the ward’s Streets and Sanitation Superintendent, said that the first issue he will tackle is public safety. One way to address the ward’s violence is by forming a public safety committee, he said. The committee will have representatives from the ward’s six communities.
“I would love to take a couple police officers from each of the communities, so that way all of the communities will be represented and we’ll understand and know about the issues in each one of those six different communities,” Curtis said, who added that some have already agreed to participate.
He envisions having officers walking and riding bicycles through the neighborhoods.
He said the 18th Ward used to have a lot more community groups, but that they disappeared, along with the businesses over the years. Curtis hopes to bring both back.
“I believe the more people that we bring together, the easier the job gets because we’re involving people,” he said.
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