Sam Payton photo

Sam Payton

PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP — Sam Payton defeated current Pembroke Township Supervisor Brenda Miles in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Payton received 133 votes to Miles’ 102, while Genova Singleton garnered 69 and Pamela Ward Basu 63.

Payton is no stranger to elected office. He currently is a member of the Kankakee County Board, representing the Fourth District. He also served as mayor of Hopkins Park from 2007 to 2011.

“I’m ready to get going,” Payton said Wednesday.

There will also be a change in the board of trustees as Cathy Vanderdyz, Ida Thurman, Lille Collins Spencer and Herbert Lillard Jr. claimed the four seats up for election.

“Together we can make things happen,” Payton said, adding he is a proponent of the current project working to bring a natural gas pipeline to the Pembroke area.

He added he is ready to work with Hopkins Park Mayor Mark Hodge to bring jobs, business and improved infrastructure to the area. He named two sites that he said would be key components of possible future development. One is the former Nestlé factory and the other is the 137 acres where a state women’s prison was being built nearly 20 years ago.

Funding for the prison came from former Gov. George Ryan before his term ended. His successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, pulled the funding.

Payton’s plan for moving the community forward includes putting together a 10-person committee of young and older township residents. The committee will give suggestions to help the township, he said.

During his tenure as mayor of Hopkins Park, Payton helped secure grants to repair sewer and roads, as well as rehab existing homes and the town’s water tower and secure emergency weather sirens.

A retired Chicago Public Schools business teacher, Payton moved to Pembroke 15 years ago. At that time he was visiting the area and happened upon the celebration of Pembroke Day.

“I fell in love with the community. I had so much fun,” Payton said.

Since moving to the area, working for the residents has been Payton’s goal.

“The total purpose to come here was to give back to the people,” he said.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is