Alderman Marshun Tolbert announces 2023 mayoral run
“Our city has some serious challenges: crime, disinvestment, a need for jobs paying a live-able wage as inflation continues to rise,” said the 2nd Ward alderman, who is the first to formally announce a run to unseat Mayor Chris Clark.
One alderman is throwing his hat in the race to unseat Mayor Chris Clark.
Alderman Marshun Tolbert (2nd) officially announced his run for Harvey mayor in 2023 this week.
“Our city has some serious challenges: crime, disinvestment, a need for jobs paying a live-able wage as inflation continues to rise,” said Tolbert in a somber video reel announcing his candidacy.
Tolbert was elected in 2019 as the youngest alderperson in Harvey’s history after a previously unsuccessfully bout for Harvey Public Library Board trustee in 2017.
For some, this is old news, as talk swirled for months that the freshman alderman would toss his hat into the mayoral race.
Dixmoor treasurer and former Harvey Park District president Anthony McCaskill revealed he would run in December. McCaskill unsuccessfully ran against Clark in the 2019 race.
While Clark has not announced a re-election bid, he is expected to run for a second term.
As alderman of the 2nd Ward—home to the city’s major institutions like City Hall, Harvey Public Library, Park District headquarters, Post Office, 154th Street Metra Station, and Harvey Pace Bus Terminal—he has occasionally found himself in snappy exchanges with Mayor Chris Clark.
Most infamously, Ald. Tolbert, Tracy Key (4th), Dominique Randle-El (5th), and Tyrone Rogers (6th) sparred with Clark in June of 2019 over liquor establishment closures. The mayor introduced a measure, known as “the liquor ordinance,” that would require Harvey’s liquor-selling establishments, including strip clubs, to close at midnight.
Clark argued the measure appealed to complaints of violence associated with Harvey’s liquor stores and strip clubs. Community leaders hung signs in support of “the liquor ordinance” around the downtown area, still visible today.
The four aldermen contested the move would appear hostile to the businesses, noting their strong revenue-generating presence in the city’s business sector.
Months later, they attempted to put forth an ordinance that would allow liquor-selling businesses to operate after midnight, but were late submitting the proposed law to be considered as an agenda item. With an upcoming vote on infrastructure upgrades to street lights and pothole repairs, they used a procedural move to remove the items from the agenda, delaying that vote.
In the time since, Tolbert has voted in favor of ordinances that advance the Clark administration’s economic agenda, including infrastructure and transit-oriented development.
Tolbert voted against the controversial $17 million Harvey Lofts housing development, coming to Broadway Avenue, which was met with pushback from some residents who favor more businesses in the downtown area. Some even warned the development could attract more crime in the city’s once-flourishing business core. The City Council approved the development to move forward, expected to break ground later this year.
But, the young, charismatic alderman—who also holds employment at the Thornton Township at the food pantry on 153rd Street and Page Avenue and a campaign manager around Illinois filling judicial seats—has also faced criticism alongside other alderpersons that they are not active enough in Harvey.
While alderpersons throw block parties and backpack giveaways, those critical want to see aldermen do more to introduce legislation and move policy on City Council.
Tolbert has occasionally echoed residents' criticisms of both Clark and the Harvey Police Department over a revolving door of police leadership and lack of transparency and accountability.
“Our police department is in turmoil, and I think that's an issue,” Tolbert told CBS2 Chicago after so many officers called out sick that only one showed up for their shift last June.
He added that residents “deserve answers because they're paying really high property taxes, and the police protection they think is there is really not there.”
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