The residents of Cicero came out and voted on Tuesday, Feb. 26, despite the extreme weather conditions. The elections came to a breaking point when current Cicero Town President Larry Dominick, took the lead, as early as 7:38 p.m. that night, with 60 percent of the votes versus Juan Ochoa who stood at 30 percent and Joseph Pontarelli with 9.49 percent.
“I’m a little upset I didn’t get 70 percent but we still won. I’m happy with our victory,” said Dominick. “Obviously the people love what we’re doing here in Cicero,” he said. Dominick then explained that the future projects for Cicero will include a Wal-Mart, a dog park and an animal shelter to name a few.
“Either you’re going to change the next four years or things can get worse or better,” said Cesar Diaz, a volunteer for the election. Diaz also shared that he was going door to door knocking and reminding the residents that this election was going to be very important.
Larry Dominick’s election party was a full house right after the polls closed. His family, friends, co-workers, volunteers and many residents gathered together at Al’s Restaurant in the 27th Precinct to celebrate his victory.
“Larry is the best thing that happened to Cicero,” said Kathy McDonald, a volunteer for Dominick. She said that she feels her town is one of the safest in the US.
When asked about opponent Juan Ochoa’s defeat, State Senator Martin Sandoval said: “The people of Cicero rejected Juan Ochoa. We have sent that man packing and back to Berwyn.”
Juan Ochoa said that he believes the weather “played a role” in his loss, as well as the fact that people wanted to stay home rather than go out and vote. “Obviously we didn’t convince enough [people],” said Ochoa. “There’s no question I got into this race with the intention of winning. As a community we have a long way to go.”
Throughout the day, Cicero residents had several polling locations where they went and casted their votes. The voting took place from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“158 people came to vote,” shared Election Judge Margaret Martinotti, who was stationed at Cicero Stadium in the 7th Precinct. “They were asking all the Latinos for ID’s,” said Rolando Villegas, a Juan Ochoa volunteer. He said that soon after he noticed that and it was reported two lawyers came to the Cicero Stadium and stood inside keeping a close eye on the election judges at the 7th Precinct.
Esperanza Martinez, an election judge at Cicero Public Library in the 8th Precinct, said that 609 people were registered to come to vote at that location. She also said that a total of 112 voters had come out and voted during the day before it was time to close the polls.
“This is my first time voting,” said Jaime Salinas who walked to the Cicero Public Library to vote for “the other guy from 26th Street.” He found out that his name was misspelled in the registration book, it was spelled Jaime Salinat. A similar situation had occurred ten times during the day in the 8th Precinct.
“Very, very happy to see that despite the weather voters took the time to come out and vote,” said Cicero Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias. She said that she always believed it was up to the voters to pick their leader. “They spoke,” she said.