Republican incumbent Larry Osenga won re-election in Kankakee’s 3rd Ward aldermanic race, while Republican newcomer Frank Hasik IV won the 4th Ward seat on the Kankakee City Council in Tuesday’s consolidated election.
Osenga, who has served three terms on the council, defeated Independent challenger Ben Clark with 746 votes to 251. Hasik defeated Democrat Dawn Tutt 471-284.
Osenga, 69, said it was very rewarding to win a fourth term.
“I have some wonderful citizenry on the west side of Kankakee, and I’ve worked with them for a very long time in more than one capacity,” he said. “I’m very happy that they chose to let me work with them again.”
Osenga was a Kankakee police officer for 30 years before winning election to the council, and he’s seen a lot in Kankakee. He’s hopeful the city can move forward with a revamped council and new mayor.
“It’s going to take some time to make some moves and get the morale back up with the entire city, not just the police department,” he said. “Once that happens, people are going to be happy to work for the city of Kankakee again.”
Osenga is hopeful the council and city administration can work together to unite the community.
“The city has been very divided the last four years,” he said. “More than I’ve seen it in the last 40 years. We have to work together. It’s not us against them. Everybody is in this together, and we have to get back on track.”
In his concession via his Facebook page, Clark echoed that same sentiment of unity.
The first-time candidate wrote, “Thank you to all that have supported me the last few months! It is greatly appreciated! It is time to unite behind Alderman Osenga and support him and work to make the Third Ward the best it can be!”
Hasik, 32, won election in his first attempt at public office. He’s currently the fire chief for the Kankakee Township Fire Protection District.
“I hope to work for the board as a whole,” he said.
Hasik said fiscal responsibility and public safety will be important to him as an alderman, as well as having open communication with his constituents.
“I hope we can make the city a safer place to live,” he said. “I hope we can be a lot more fiscally responsible with our money. We’ve got a $27 million plus budget, and I feel like, as of late, [the city council has] spent however they feel like. I hope to keep a closer eye on the budget itself.”
Tutt was also trying to win election to public office for the first time.
“I’m extremely proud of everything we accomplished and about everything we got done,” she said. “We ran a clean campaign, not one negative thing was said about my opponent.
“There’s only one way I know how to run a race. … If you look at social media, he did the opposite.”
Tutt, who is the founder of 3D Wildlife Rescue and Rehab nonprofit in Kankakee, said she won’t rule out running for public office in the future.
“It’s a possibility,” she said. “I never say never.”