EDISON PARK — A suburban firefighter and longtime Edison Park resident said Wednesday he will run for 41st Ward Democratic committeeman, an unpaid position that could set the stage for a run for the Chicago City Council against Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st).
"I'm very qualified for this position," said Heneghan, an Elmwood Park firefighter who also serves as the president of his union. "It is a good fit for my skills."
Heneghan is in his second term on the Local School Council at Ebinger Elementary School in Edison Park, where he also served for seven years as the volunteer athletic director and coached several teams.
"I want to expand my service to the community," said Heneghan, whose three children graduated from Ebinger and now attend Notre Dame College Prep High School and Lane Tech High School.
O'Connor said she will step down as committeeman. Committeemen are elected to four-year terms to oversee voter registration, boost voter turnout and ensure elections run smoothly in the 41st Ward, which includes Norwood Park, Edgebrook, Edison Park and O'Hare.
Heneghan has been a "strong advocate" for the community, and the 41st Ward Democratic Organization will benefit from his leadership, O'Connor said.
"Tim is very dedicated to the community," O'Connor said. "He will be a very good fit."
But O'Connor said it would be incorrect to suggest she is stepping back from politics.
"I just don't have the time to devote to it right now," said O'Connor, who lost April's runoff to Napolitano, the only Republican member of the Chicago City Council.
State Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-O'Hare) is the 41st Ward Republican Committeeman.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who supported O'Connor's unsuccessful re-election bid — picked O'Connor to serve on a task force charged with suggesting ways he can help small businesses succeed and grow during his second term.
O'Connor owns a catering business, Unforgettable Edibles. O'Connor's Market and Deli closed at the beginning of May when its building was sold.
"I'm very passionate about these issues," O'Connor said. "Small businesses are the economic engine of our community."
O'Connor said she would work as a member of the task force to reduce the "red tape" surrounding businesses and make sure they "aren't run out of the city" by increasing regulations, such as the recent minimum wage hike and a push to require all employees be given sick leave.
In many wards, the alderman — or his or her close ally — serves as the committeeman to consolidate power and operations. For example, in the 45th Ward, Ald. John Arena is also the Democratic committeeman.
Heneghan said he was focused on gathering enough signatures to qualify for the March election, but did not rule out a run for the City Council in 2019.
"Running for office has been in the back of mind for a while," Heneghan said. "I'm very civic-minded."
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