‘There is still so much left to do for Cicero’

Cicero President Larry Dominick shares his thoughts about the upcoming election

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsElections are just around the corner for the Town of Cicero and despite the latest contention between incumbent President Larry Dominick and Cicero Town President Candidate Juan Ochoa; Dominick wants to make sure his message to Cicero residents does not become diluted in the “lies and accusations,” he stated was spewed from his opponents. “No one can dispute the love I have for the Town of Cicero,” said Dominick during an exclusive interview with Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper. “It’s easy for Juan Ochoa to take aim at me and talk nonsense, but what is his platform?”

In the last month, Ochoa’s campaign filed a total of 27 election challenges against all of the Town’s officials including Town Assessor Emilio Cundari, Supervisor Jose Virruso, Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and Dominick, among other officials, for not having the proper qualifications to be put on the ballot for the February 26 election. After several Board meetings, the Independent Election Board rejected Ochoa’s claims and allowed Dominick to remain on the ballot. “I think Ochoa and his team should come by and see what we are doing to better the lives of our residents instead of spreading disgusting lies about me and my administration.”

Dominick sat down with Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper to share some of his thoughts on why Cicero residents should re-elect him for Cicero Town President once more.

I do believe we are going to win once again. I am hoping for 75 percent of the votes this year, but either way, we have so much more we want to do for the Town of Cicero. We have so many after-school programs lined up for the youth in this town, we have several health workshops for senior citizens, we have several foreclosure seminars in the works for families…we have so much left to do.

Ochoa’s Campaign
My only issue with Candidate Juan Ochoa is he talks and talks, but has no platform. It’s easy for someone to make me a target and create lies about my administration and the work that we do, but if you have no ideas of your own you are only damaging yourself. What is Ochoa’s platform? We have proven many times in the past that we have bettered the lives of thousands of families in this community just through our several initiatives, such as the Save Our Streets, S.O.S. Task Force. We brought the homicide rate significantly lower than what it was when I first took office. So I know my truth, I care for this town that I grew up in, I work hard for this town, so people like Ochoa and what they say doesn’t bother me. They should use their energy and resources to do something else, instead of tear me apart.

ICE Detainees
I know community members held a rally outside our building a couple of weeks ago to protest the arrests of a couple of individuals who were turned over to ICE, [Immigration Customs Enforcement]. Though I understand their frustration, as part of our policy, the Cicero Safe Space Resolution, we do not hand anyone over to ICE. However, the Cicero Police Department believes these certain individuals, who have been detained, are gang affiliated. In fact, they have openly admitted to being part of gangs. So if the Cicero Police Department believes keeping them off the streets is safer, then it’s for them to decide. That is the only reason why Cicero Police would turn them over, not for any other reason.

Goals for 2013
Walmart is about to break ground in March, which is something we are looking forward to. We are also in the process of creating a new soccer field for youth to use in the area of Laramie and 18th Street. We have plans to build a sand volleyball court and indoor aquatic center. It excites me to be able to give our residents what they need. It is important for me to give families a place where they can call their own; a place where children can play in safety, without worry. All Cicero residents have to do is look around and see the kinds of changes Cicero has undergone. It is a lot better than it was in 2005 and will continue to get better because our love for this town is undeniable.

President Dominick’s Achievements

  • Since taking office in 2005, Dominick has doubled the size of its Gang Crimes Unit by hiring more police officers and developing the community policing program.
  • President Larry Dominick nominated Maria Punzo-Arias to be the first Mexican-American Clerk for the Town of Cicero in its history in 2010.
  • President Dominick directed and acceptance of the Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad card as a valid form of ID. The “Matricula Consular Card” is an identification card issued by the Government of Mexico through its consular offices to Mexican Nationals residing outside of Mexico.
  • In 2008, President Dominick and the Cicero Town Council enacted the Safe Space Resolution for Cicero. A resolution developed by Interfaith Leadership Project and the Latino Union of Chicago to increase protections for undocumented residents.
  • Under President Dominick and the Town Board, Cicero became the first city in Illinois to allow drivers licenses be given to undocumented residents last November.

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