Bremen Families First Party looks to upset Bremen Township administration
As communities all over Cook County prepare for the April 4 elections, a political fight in Bremen Township is shaping out be more than anti-incumbent narrative.
Instead, it's becoming a fight about family and the future of the township’s government.
The Bremen Families First Party, a local group of activists challenging the incumbent Bremen Tax Cut Party, says it seeks to bring much-needed change to the leadership of the 170,000-person, 36-square-mile block of Southwest Cook County.
Don Sebek, the leader of Bremen Families First, leads a full slate of political challengers seeking to oust the current administration. Sebek hopes to unseat Supervisor Maggie Crotty.
For more than 45 years, Sebek has served as the executive director of Bremen Youth Services, a township-sponsored agency providing local youth with mental health services. Sebek told South Cook News he decided to run for office because he disagrees with past decisions that caused Bremen Youth Services to struggle.
“My own original reasons for running revolve around my 45 years of directing Bremen Youth Services and the Township Supervisor’s senseless defunding of our agency a year ago, crippling our ability to continue to provide quality mental health services to our community,” Sebek said.
Sebek called for accountability in the government, referring to the current state of the system as “Crotty politics.”
“During this campaign, our group has cast a spotlight on the reality of 'Crotty politics' for perhaps the first time,” Sebek said. “Accountability and transparency are words that have never been part of their vocabulary, and they consistently avoid making them active elements of their behavior.”
Bremen Families First seeks to fix the deficiencies it sees in the current administration, including what it calls a pattern of deceit, corruption and nepotism, Sebek said.
He also said the party's slate of candidates represents the diversity of the people living in the communities that make up the township. The Bremen Families First slate for the Township government consists of eight candidates. In addition to Sebek's candidacy for supervisor, Grace Bardusk is vying for assessor, Palma Jones for clerk, and David Schnell for highway commissioner. Laura Brown, David Bryant, James Monroe Talbot, and Charles Wolf are all running for trustee.
“If elected clerk, I would bring more transparency to the township by enhancing the township website to include minutes, agendas, financial reports, adding links to other sites that can be of assistance, fiscal budgets and salaries,” Jones said. “Social media will be used and the newsletter would be developed.”
If elected, the Bremen Families First candidates also plan to commit more to seniors, youth and veterans. They also say they will ensure an open means of communication. The candidates also wish to instill a zero-based balance budget that refunds taxpayers and money the township doesn’t use.
“For far too long, residents of Bremen Township have been neglected,” Bardusk said. “Bremen Families First would like a chance to bring integrity and services to our residents. We came about the name 'Bremen Families First' because we felt it was time for 'families' of the south Suburbs to be heard and respected.”
“For far too long, Bremen Township residents have been kept in the dark as far as what the local government is doing with their tax dollars,” he said. “The lack of accountability in Bremen must stop and will stop under the Bremen Families First administration.”
Wolf also spoke on the importance of changing the administration.
“We need to take our Township out of the shadows and into the light, redirecting its resources, helping the needs of our families, veterans, seniors and youth who make up the very fabric of what a community is all about,” Wolf said. “Local townships were not formed to be part of a political system designed to advance the power and self-interest of career politicians. It’s time to change and give local governance back to you.”
Several members of the opposing Tax Cut Party, including Crotty, did not return requests for comment.
Polls open at 6 a.m., April 4, and will remain open until 7 p.m.