Father, daughter seeking trustee seats
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 5, 2013 7:08PM
Colleen Hassell and her father Kevin Clancy are both running for Township trustee. Colleen in Frankfort and Kevin in Plainfield. They are pictured at a Starbucks in Frankfort, Illinois, Friday, April 5, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2013 6:44AM
They may not be the Madigans family — nor do they aspire to be, thank you very much.
But just as Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and his Attorney General daughter Lisa Madigan rule the roost in Springfield, Kevin Clancy and his daughter Colleen Hassell hope to leave their mark in Will County.
The two Will County Democrats are launching their political careers by running for trustee seats in their respective townships — Clancy in Plainfield Township and Hassell in Frankfort Township. Each currently serves as a precinct committeeman.
Clancy, 59, is one of five candidates — the lone Democrat — seeking one of four open trustee seats in the April 9 election. Hassell, 34, is part of a full slate of Democrats seeking to unseat incumbent Republicans.
The Republican candidates on the ballot for the Plainfield Township trustee race are: Charles H. Chuck Willard, Matthe C. Starr, Ernest C. Knight and Debbie Kraulidis. The GOP candidates seeking spots as a Frankfort Township trustee include: Michael A. Jarigese, Denise Lenz, Nick George, David Smith, Gregory Griffi and Bruce E. Ebert.
“We do not want to be armchair quarterbacks,” Clancy said. “We decided to get involved.”
Hassell said her parents always coached the various athletic teams of her and her siblings, and her mom was a Girl Scout leader.
“They always gave back. That’s what I want to do,” said Hassell, who volunteers at her son’s school. “Everyone needs to give back.”
She began to get involved after President Obama’s election in 2008. “I felt I had to do something,” the mother of two said.
Clancy believes it is always important to spend time with your family. He was a sprinkler fitter who retired in 2009, got elected committeeman in 2010 and later was chosen as treasurer of the Will County Democratic Central Committee.
“The more he got involved, the more I got pulled in,” Hassell said. She began to attend more and more meetings of the county’s Democratic party.
They say they didn’t plan to run for similar offices at the same time.
Both want to get the word out about what township government can do for its constituents. They want to let people know about the general assistance and the food pantry the townships offer to struggling families, medical closets with free equipment, bus transportation and senior services.
When it comes to campaigning, they both say they dislike mudslinging and instead focus on the positive.
“We discuss that a lot,” Hassell said.
“You have to be neutral and brush off caustic remarks,” Clancy said.
Politics sometimes enters the discussion at family gatherings, but it’s usually “friendly banter,” she said.
They are optimistic about their chances Tuesday.
“It’s special to me that we are able to do this political stuff together. We are separated by miles, but we have a common thread,” Clancy said. “If we both win, it will be fun. If we both lose, we can say we gave it our best shot. We will still be members of the Democratic party.”