Something will happen in Naperville next year, that’s only happened twice in the last 28 years; Naperville will have a new mayor. Current Naperville mayor Steve Chirico is completing the last year of his second and final term. Term limits (two) dictates that’s all there is.
Prior to Chirico, Mayor George Pradel served 20 years from 1995 until 2015. Under Pradel’s leadership, he ushered in Naperville’s family-friendly image. Chirico embraced the solid footing that Pradel created, and used that for Naperville to soar with economic vitality. It’s been a wonderful 28-year period of time for Naperville residents and businesses. Now the question is who will carry this forward.
In essence, the last nearly three decades of Naperville leadership is a classic example of roots and wings. Pradel providing the roots, and Chirico providing the wings.
Less than a year from now, Naperville will have a new mayor. Who will it be? Maybe a current or former council member? Maybe somebody currently on a Naperville board or commission? Maybe somebody nobody knows right now, with the financial means to mount a successful grassroots campaign.
Anybody remember Rocky Caylor? No, he wasn’t a heavyweight prize fighter, and he didn’t play 3rd-base for the Boston Red Sox. He came in second-place, behind Chirico in the 2019 mayoral race. Chirico garnered 51.8% of the vote with 9,650 votes, while Caylor finished with 8,984 votes for 48.2%. That’s a difference of only 666 votes in a city with about 140,000 residents. It doesn’t take many votes to sway an election one way or the other.
Interesting side note, Naperville councilman Paul Hinterlong secured 9,891 votes on the city council side; 241 votes more than Mayor Steve Chirico in the 2019 election.
It’s been said in business, that the first generation creates it, the second generation builds it, and the third generation squanders it. Pradel created it, Chirico built it, what will the next mayor do?