Candidate for Mayor

Mayor Robert J. Lovero

Robert "Bob" Lovero has lived in Berwyn for fifty years and made public service an integral part of his life. He has always had the support of his family—his late father Thomas, his mother Alba and brother Scott, and his wife Gail and their son Thomas, daughters Danielle and Gabrielle, and grandsons Robert and Matthew.

Bob graduated from St. Mary of Celle school and Fenwick High before earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Loyola University and graduating from Northern Illinois University College of Law. After passing the bar in 1981, Bob served as Assistant City Attorney and City Prosecutor to the City of Berwyn. He also practiced at a few Chicago law firms before opening the Berwyn practice that continues today.

Bob's public service experience started early. In Boy Scout Troop 63 at St. Mary of Celle in Berwyn, he progressed to the rank of Eagle Scout. He served the City of Berwyn as 7th Ward Alderman from 2000 to 2009, when he was elected Mayor.

 

Since then, Bob has played a leading role in a business renaissance has revitalized the Depot District, Route 66 along Ogden Avenue, Cermak Road and Roosevelt Road—the "Veltway." In collaboration with the Berwyn Development Corporation, Bob has presided over upgrading streetscapes and the former el-train strip, the Vacin Fairway. This beautification of Berwyn, along with his actively seeking out and welcoming new business, has brought great companies to Berwyn, including Meijer, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John's, Paisan's Pizza, Capri Restaurant, Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers, Autre Monde, Vitamin Shoppe, Starbucks, Kia Motors, Culver's and many others.

A generous benefactor to local not-for-profits, Bob has raised tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years for Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and the South and North Berwyn Educational Foundations, supported scholarships for Berwyn residents, and run enormously successful food and toy drives each year.

Every year, Bob hosts a Thanksgiving dinner to feed underprivileged Berwyn residents and provide food to shut-ins. He provides several hundred food baskets and toys to needy families each Christmas season, and helps host a family-style celebration for hundreds of sailors in what has become a beloved Berwyn tradition each Christmas Day.

Bob has consistently been active in a number of community and professional organizations: West Central Municipal Conference Executive Board, 2010 to 2015; American Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association; West Suburban Bar Association; Justinian Society of Lawyers; Illinois State Bar Association; The Italian-American Civic Organization of Berwyn, President 1996–1998, 2010 Man of the Year; Berwyn Democratic Organization; Township Democratic Committeeman 2005–present; Berwyn Township 708 Mental Health Board, 1987–1990; Berwyn Development Corporation; Blue Ribbon Historical Committee; Local Law Enforcement Advisory Board; Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity Sir Edward Coke Chapter; Alpha Delta Gamma National Fraternity, Alpha Chapter President; co-chairman of the Berwyn Holiday Fund.

With more than 25 years of service, Bob continues to energetically serve the residents of Berwyn by example and through intelligent leadership.

 

Candidate for City Clerk

Alderman Rafael "Ralph" Avila

Now serving his third term as Alderman of the 7th Ward, Rafael has lived in Berwyn more than 30 years, where he and his wife raised two daughters, who have now given them five grandchildren.

 

Before serving as alderman, Rafael was elected to a six-year term as commissioner for the North Berwyn Park District and served as an appointee for four years on the mayor's advisory board.

For more than 35 years, Rafael has worked in commercial and residential property management and sales. He managed the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago and assisted in opening Millennium Park in 2004. Rafael is proud of his work in bringing Cermak Plaza from a historic low of 30% occupancy in 2009 to 100% today, and bringing high-quality businesses such as Starbucks, Home Run Inn and Buffalo Wild Wings to the Cermak Road corridor.

Thanks to his deep experience in real estates, Rafael knows how to maintain property values. He has devoted extensive time and energy to addressing blight by working with city inspectors, collaborating with landlords to properly maintain buildings and connecting with the police department to implement frequent patrols.

 

Through a new role as city clerk, Rafael will be able to expand his efforts on behalf of all Berwyn residents, devoting his time and attention to increasing information transparency and clarity, collaborating with public safety officials, and making the city the best it can be.

 

Candidate for City Treasurer

Robert Reyes

Born in Little Village on the Southwest side of Chicago, Robert moved to Berwyn with his family in 2013. His parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico with the dream of making a better life for their family. They often worked two jobs to make ends meet and relied upon Robert's aunt, Carmen Ruiz, to play an active role in his upbringing. As a social worker for the Salvation Army, Carmen instilled in Robert an appreciation for community involvement and a passion for public service.

 

Robert's family was deeply involved at St. Agnes of Bohemia, where he graduated from elementary school and then attended what is now DePaul College Prep. After working his way through the University of Illinois at Chicago with the help of scholarships and student loans, he graduated with a BA in urban planning and public policy. Soon after, Robert began his work in community and political organizing.

At age 20, Robert traveled to Los Angeles to help elect the city's first Latino mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. Robert then went on to serve in the Washington DC office of Congressman Luis Gutierrez and in US Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin's Chicago office.

Robert is currently the vice president of local firm Realty of Chicago. He helped craft a vision for the company that not only focused on success, but on giving back to the community. The firm recently held their fourth annual back-to-school supply giveaway, helping thousands of students over the years. In addition, a recent food giveaway helped families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and thousands of dollars in scholarships have been awarded to undocumented local students, our Dreamers.

As a young father, nothing is more important to Robert than the future of our city, so he volunteers with violence prevention youth organizations and has coached his son's tee ball team at the Berwyn Park District.

 
 

Candidate for 1st Ward Alderman

James “Scott” Lennon

Scott had to leave Purdue University at 19 to care for his ailing parents—both lost when they were far too young. That same year, he joined Kemper Financial Services, working his way up to assistant vice president, where he received the Consistency of Excellence Award. His career has since included facilities management for Pitney Bowes, where he received the All-Star Award, and his current role in financial management at Pedersen & Houpt law firm.

A longtime Berwyn resident, Scott has served three terms as Vice President of Berwyn Development Corporation's board of directors. In his first term, he helped create the incredibly effective Why Berwyn? marketing campaign, which featured billboards, online promotion and outreach events across Chicago and resulted in an influx of new residents, homeowners and businesses.

In 2009, Scott was given Berwyn's prestigious Charles E. Piper Award for being a "tireless volunteer and enthusiastic spokesperson for the Berwyn community." Scott consistently volunteers at the Berwyn Oktoberfest and is a prominent presence at virtually all public festivals in the city. He is strongly pro-business, and a vocal and visible promoter of all the good things that make up Berwyn.

Scott has played a key role in promoting diversity and championing the LGBTQ community in Berwyn. He and Jousef, his partner of 20 years, have always lived in the 1st Ward. Scott knows there are no easy solutions to complex problems but continues to find practical ways to embrace progress for the ward and the city of Berwyn.

 

Candidate for 2nd Ward Alderman

James Woywod

A Berwyn resident for over 25 years, James and his wife, Deddra, have been 2nd Ward homeowners for the last 22 years, where they raised their three children.

 

Throughout his time in Berwyn, James has given back to the children and families of the community through volunteering and his current role as a Berwyn Park District commissioner. He has been an active member of the J. Sterling Morton High School Booster Club for eight years and is currently serving his sixth term as its Vice President. James coached softball for the Berwyn Park District for five years and basketball at the Berwyn Recreation Department for seven. And his family was active in the Emerson Elementary School PTA for 13 years.

 

James is proud of the direction the city has been moving in under the current administration and wants to contribute to the team as it continues to strive for greater economic development, equity, inclusion and safety.

 

Becoming the 2nd Ward Alderman will give James the opportunity to serve the community on a greater scale, focusing on the specific issues facing the ward such as neighborhood improvement, a need for greater social supports, and being available and open to residents who want to share their concerns.

 

Candidate for 3rd Ward Alderman

Richard E. Leja

Richard and his wife Patricia have lived in Berwyn for more than 40 years, raising their children in our family-friendly community.

 

As a retiree, Richard shifted his focus to community service, attending council meetings since 2010 and earning a long list of awards and citations for community service to seniors, veterans, youth and citizens. He has collaborated with residents to address issues that have routinely gone ignored, such as blight, parking, traffic and compliance issues. Richard was instrumental in securing a new pedestrian crosswalk on Oak Park Avenue and Public Works Drive, which was a safety concern to everyone, especially parents of children and youth.

 

Recognizing the need for an open, attentive advocate to help residents navigate and solve their day-to-day challenges, Richard made the decision to step up. He has already established himself as a trustworthy listener who shares Berwyn citizens' values about increasing public safety, supporting small and minority business, and the need for clarity, transparency and respect in government.

 

As Alderman, Richard will remain readily available to residents and is determined to continue working for—and with—the 3rd Ward toward a brighter future.

 

Candidate for 4th Ward Alderman

Robert "Bob" Fejt

Robert Fejt has been 4th Ward Alderman for the past two terms. A lifelong resident, full-time firefighter and local landscaping business owner, he has always put Berwyn first.  

 

Robert and his wife consider his approach "old school," based on calling and meeting residents, solving their problems firsthand and collaborating with government departments to achieve solutions that serve everyone well. He loves the inclusiveness of the ward and the ability to relate to and support this thriving community. 

 

Residents recognize "Bob" for hosting monthly community cleanups—over 50 so far—that have made a significant difference in the livability of the 4th Ward. He personally tours alleys to report needed repairs, rat problems and broken garbage cans. Being hands-on comes naturally to Robert and assures that the issues closest to home for 4th Ward residents get addressed early and effectively.

 

In his third term as alderman, Robert will continue reaching out further to constituents through new channels, such as social media, to ensure that he can be easily reached by anyone who needs him. He hopes to keep working hard for every resident of Berwyn.

 

Candidate for 5th Ward Alderwoman

Ariana Macedo

Dedicated to public safety, environmental issues and economic growth, Ariana plans to bring a fresh perspective to the 5th Ward. From day-to-day challenges such as reducing traffic accidents and pest populations to bigger-picture issues such as increasing trust in government and spurring new business, Ariana is focused on ways to meet the needs and goals of the community.

 

A lifelong Berwyn resident, Ariana attended Berwyn South School District 100, where she was selected as a Best of Berwyn Finalist and received the Daniel Murphy Scholarship upon graduating from Freedom Middle School. This allowed her to attend Trinity High School, then continue as a Dean's Scholar at North Central College, earning a BA in finance in 2018.

Working toward her goal of becoming a financial analyst, Ariana was an intern with the Berwyn finance department before accepting her current role as an administrative assistant to the South School District 100 business and HR department.

Ariana's passion and energy for hard work and the Berwyn community have been evident in everything she takes on, allowing her to seize tremendous opportunities for personal and professional growth within Berwyn. As alderwoman of the 5th Ward, she believes that her transparent, responsive approach will make her a valued asset to the city.

 

Candidate for 6th Ward Alderwoman

Sandra Diaz 

Sandra has lived in Berwyn with her two sons for the past 15 years. During this time, she has worked at Remax Partners, where she is proud to have opportunities to introduce new residents to our diverse community.

 

Sandra's investment in the growth of our community extends beyond her professional life—she dedicates extraordinary amounts of time in volunteer roles, including as a volunteer and member of the Berwyn Development Corporation. In conjunction with the Berwyn Development Corporation and other community groups, she has organized a number of events free public events to help raise awareness of critical initiatives benefiting Berwyn residents.

 

Placing a high value on education, Sandra has also actively participated in her sons' school experiences, volunteering to support school safety and health events and contributing to parent groups.

 

After studying business administration with a concentration in project management at DeVry University, Sandra plans to utilize these skills and her professional experience as a trusted public servant of the residents of the 6th Ward.

 

Sandra is already engaging with residents to balance day-to-day concerns about blight, traffic, pests and more with a high-level vision for Berwyn that embraces fiscal responsibility, business growth and continuing to value green space for future generations.

 

Candidate for 7th Ward Alderwoman

Mary Beth Arenella

Mary Beth moved to Berwyn's 7th Ward 24 years ago, where she has lived with her two children, who are now young adults. She grew up in Humboldt Park with parents of Puerto Rican descent, graduated from St. Josephinum High School and took courses at Harold Washington College.

Once her children were born and in school, Mary Beth joined the Jefferson Elementary Parent Teacher Association and then became its president. Deciding to take her volunteer efforts to a higher level, she ran for School Board Member in District 98, where she is currently in her third term. During her 11 years on the board, she has helped increase the district's fund balance from $38 million to $55 million and established the district as debt-free for the first time—an accomplishment they have been able to maintain ever since. The board has also helped the district achieve its technology access goals, providing every student with their own learning devices. In addition, District 98 students have attained the highest test scores in the area—proudly earning a spot among the 50 Best Elementary Schools in the west suburbs of Chicago.

For 15 years, Mary Beth worked as the executive assistant to the inspector general of Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Today, she works in the 7th Ward, as the Parent Liaison at Morton West High School—she has been with District 201 for eight years—and as a real estate agent in the community. She also worked at the Pav YMCA in south Berwyn for ten years.

 

Through her professional and personal commitments, Mary Beth has dedicated her time and energy to deep understanding of the issues that concern to the families she works with and serves. She is looking forward to helping revitalize closed properties, addressing blight and rodent issues, promoting public safety and ensuring that families have the resources and services they deserve.

 

Mary Beth values accountability and good governance, as well as the diversity and welcoming nature of our city. She is devoted to making the 7th Ward and Berwyn a safe and thriving community.

Candidate for 8th Ward Alderman

Anthony Nowak

Born, raised and educated in Berwyn, Anthony's passion for the community is evident in his choice to launch his real estate career here, his past experience as a City of Berwyn Police and Fire Commissioner, and his current role as the alderman of the 8th ward. He says Berwyn in in his DNA.

 

Anthony has been ​active in community groups and committees, including acting as the vice president of the Italian American Civic Organization of Berwyn, serving as the chair for their Alzheimer's disease and autism fundraisers and St. Joseph's Day dinner. He is a trustee of the Chicago Association of Realtors, and chair of their West Towns division. He has also been vice chair of the Houby Day parade and fest, as well as the Berwyn Holiday Fund. And he has been involved with Flowers for Hope, the Little Free Library Initiative, North Berwyn Scouts, American Legion Veterans Memorial Beautification and 8th Ward clean-ups. He has earned multiple Chicago, state and professional awards for community service.

 

Working closely with residents, Anthony has formed a clear view of his ward's particular needs for greater public safety, challenges around blight and alley conditions, and ongoing economic development.

 

Anthony has already established himself as readily available to the people who live in his ward and all of Berwyn, and is committed to continuing his open, steadfast service while working with the police, the county and other governmental entities to drive change.

 
 

Candidate for Township Supervisor

David Avila

Born to a Marine and Vietnam war veteran father, and a mother who was a 30-year government employee, and is an alumni from Morton West High School and Morton College.

 

David went on to work as an undercover investigator for Fortune 500 companies so he could save money to go to Western Illinois University, and continued vending at Wrigley Field, which he started at age 16 and continued for many years. He graduated from WIU in the Honor Society with his graduate work in criminal justice and administration. While there, David had the privilege of studying for a semester in Salamanca, Spain, then earning a scholarship to attend a semester at El Tec De Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he studied Spanish and international business while playing for the university baseball team. Upon returning to WIU, David enrolled in a Learning to Lead program, a 30-day, intense mental bootcamp, before interning in Washington DC at the White House.

During his college years, David met his wife Malisa, a registered nurse who now teaches at Morton College and works at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn. The couple have been married for 15 years and have two children, Alondra and Annalise, who are very involved in Girl Scouts, music and sports.

David went back to work as an undercover investigator for a time, then went on to teach at St. Gall Middle School, where he volunteered to teach English after school, coached boys' basketball and started the school's first talent show and play.

 

Ultimately, in 2009, David became Policy Director for Cook County Commissioners Edwin Reyes and Stanley Moore, until he became Berwyn Township Assessor in 2014. For several years, he continued to help write and create policy for the City of Chicago and Cook County Government, until shifting focus to his small business as a State Farm agent in Berwyn, and immediately began a culture of philanthropy within his business .

 

Since taking office, David has created a variety of workshops, such as a free legal clinic, self-defense classes, homeowner symposia, property tax appeal workshops, as well as programs such as Eyes for Education, The Children's Wellness Program, Transparency Act and many others. He also started a not-for-profit, Educational Giving Tree, which creates and subsidizes after-school programs and teaching materials.

Candidate for Berwyn Township Assessor

Jacqueline Pereda

A lifelong area resident, Jacqueline was born in Chicago and raised in Little Village. She learned her values from hardworking immigrant parents who have been small business owners throughout their lives.

 

Jacqueline is a graduate of Lourdes High School and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she was awarded a full academic scholarship. As a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority, she volunteered to teach English to the local immigrant population and visited senior citizens in nearby nursing homes. She interned at CNA Insurance, Bank of America and Pederson & Houpt Law offices on her way to earning her bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in Latino/a studies.

After earning her degree, Jacqueline worked as a litigation paralegal at several successful Chicago law firms devoted to representing diverse members of the community. Its diverse, embracing population drew Jacqueline and her family to Berwyn, where she has lived with her husband and two children for the past 12 years. She has been an active volunteer at her son's school, Pershing Elementary. 

As township assessor, Jacqueline aims to help constituents understand and navigate the tax appeal and assessment process through workshops and education, and she pledges to provide fairness and accessibility to every resident with property tax concerns. She also hopes to guide a strong post-COVID-19 recovery for all residents and businesses of Berwyn.

 
 

Berwyn Township Trustee

Currently serving as a trustee of Berwyn Township, Ed is retired from a 30-year career at AT&T, where he was a telecommunications specialist and union steward for IBEW Local 21. He started when the company was still known as Illinois Bell and by the time he retired, he was a certified electrical technician responsible for training new employees. Ed is a former accredited health service and food service sanitation inspector, and a member of Township Officials of Illinois. He has been a 708 Mental Health Board member and was township collector from 2002–2005.

Active in the community, Ed serves as a board member for the North Berwyn Educational Foundation and volunteers at a wide range of local events such as the Berwyn Farmers Market, Houby Day and Berwyn Depot District's Oktoberfest. In 2008 and 2009, he helped citizens in need prepare taxes through a partnership with Proksa Park.

He and his wife Ana have lived in Berwyn over 38 years, where they have raised two daughters. Since being elected trustee in 2009, Ed has played a vital role on the team currently responsible for recharging and revitalizing Berwyn.

 

Looking forward, Ed hopes to seek new ways to provide support and activities for township seniors, invest an economic surplus for maximum impact and assure greater intergovernmental cooperation for the good of Berwyn residents.

Edward Espinoza

Candidate for Berwyn Township Trustee

When Tomasa and her family relocated from Chicago to Berwyn, her oldest son was three years old. Now completing his senior year at Morton West High School, and her other two children are attending Heritage Middle School.

 

A professional in the insurance industry and a frequent volunteer, Tomasa is currently a member of board of the Educational Giving Tree, a privately funded nonprofit organization that supports enrichment classes and local teachers. She is enthusiastic about the ability to contribute to the community that has welcomed her family, and to give back for everything they have received.

 

Bilingual and deeply connected to the Spanish- and English-speaking communities, Tomasa is committed to seeking new ways the township can do more for its residents, particularly families and seniors of all backgrounds, with the current economic surplus and other available resources.

 

Tomasa Ambriz

 

Jesse Miranda

For more than 40 years, Jesse and his wife Charlene have been residents of Berwyn—a community that makes him proud.

 

Accustomed to the rigors of standing up for social and economic justice, Jesse has been a member of the Teamsters Union for 54 years—with the last 30 years as an elected business agent, officer and trustee. His roles have included:

  • National Teamsters Hispanic Caucus

  • Recording Secretary

  • Chicago Teamsters Hispanic Caucus

  • Vice President

  • Teamsters Local 703

  • Trustee Business Representative

 

Jesse's qualifications, experience and commitment to improve the lives of working men and women uniquely prepares him to meet the essential needs of our city and township as we navigate COVID-19, seek to enact new services and consider expanded services for seniors.

 

He is committed to serving as a trustee with vigor and vision in conjunction with the others on this talented, values-driven team.

Candidate for Berwyn Township Trustee

 

Candidate for Berwyn Township Trustee

Tomasa Ambriz

Maribel Zapata

A 13-year resident of Berwyn Township, Maribel lives in Berwyn with her husband and three children. Like most parents, her first priority is raising safe, healthy, resilient children in a constantly changing world. This has driven her to step up as a community leader and drive toward a positive future. 

With a career built on problem solving and finding creative solutions, and a lifelong dedication to learning, Maribel is no stranger to intense, fast-moving environments. For 15 years, she worked with brokers and investment traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange/Chicago Board of Trade to manage financials and find quick solutions in dramatically changing daily markets—an especially demanding role during the economic downturn of 2008.

As a Berwyn homeowner, she took the initiative to learn how properties are assessed and property taxes are determined. Her natural curiosity eventually led to a role in the Berwyn assessor's office in 2013. She found her work as a deputy township assessor fulfilling, as it allowed her to build meaningful relationships with Berwyn residents as they sought clear, actionable information they could trust.

Community engagement and service have always been central to Maribel's life, leading her to volunteer at a variety of citizenship workshops and most recently, to become a registered nurse.

As trustee, Maribel is determined to continue building community relationships, informing residents about complicated matters and finding resolutions to township concerns, always putting the needs of residents first.

Democratic Citizens of Berwyn

6724 W. Cermak Road

Berwyn, IL 60402

Telephone: (708) 484-8630

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