Steve McMichael kicked off his campaign season Saturday surrounded by an all-star cast of Chicago Bears football legends who said their former teammate was a natural leader and a good choice for Romeoville’s next mayor.
Romeoville residents packed Mongo McMichaels restaurant to show their support for the candidate and meet and greet members of the 1985 Super Bowl Bears, including Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, Gary Fencik, Tom Thayer, Jay Hilgenberg and Shaun Gayle.
McMichael faces incumbent Mayor John Noak and former mayor Fred Dewald in the April 9 election.
McMichael said he’s been active knocking on doors, listening to residents and taking notes. He said residents are concerned about their declining property values and the high rates of foreclosures and short sales that are affecting neighborhoods throughout the village.
He said that property is too often being taxed at the value their home was several years ago, and that residents need property tax relief.
“I’m talking about a reduction of your property taxes,” McMichael said.
McMichael also said that the village needs to stimulate business growth and aggressively market the historic Route 66 as an icon in town.
Residents have been receptive to his ideas and have agreed to post “McMichael for Mayor” campaign signs in their lawns, McMichael said.
Being surrounded by his former teammates who are showing their support for McMichael’s mayoral bid is a testament to his leadership, said McMichael’s wife Misty.
“All these '85 guys are here to support him,” she said. “If they didn’t think he’d do a good job, then they wouldn’t be here.
“We want this town run right,” Misty McMichael said.
Many of his former teammates on Saturday called McMichael a natural leader.
“He’s a great leader on and off the field,” Hilgenberg, the former Bears center, said of McMichael, adding that he is a positive motivator.
Wilson, the former linebacker, called McMichael a “hard-working, smart and caring individual.”
“These are qualities most politicians don’t have,” Wilson said. “Most politicians care about themselves. (McMichael) cares for the people.”
Gayle, a former cornerback and safety for the Bears, said McMichael is a person of “integrity.”
“It’s important to have someone in office who is trustworthy,” he said.
Tina Oberlin, a Crest Hill alderman, attended Saturday’s campaign event to show her support for McMichael, who she met through the Romeoville Lions Club.
She said McMichael once helped raise $1,000 for the Crest Hill food pantry, and she feels he is getting into politics to make a difference.
“He’s a great intellect when talking politics,” Oberlin said. “I believe he’s entering politics for the right reasons.”
Bears fan and Lockport Township Trustee Candi Thuringer, called McMichael “a good fit for Romeoville.”
“Not only is he a football legend, he is very astute when it comes to politics,” she said. “He looks towards the future and he thinks outside the box.”
Bears fans got a chance Saturday to buy footballs and shirts and have them autographed. The $50-per-person fundraiser also included appetizers and drinks. The Super Bowl Shuffle played on the radio.
Romeoville resident Tommy Torres said he supports McMichael’s candidacy.
“He’s a great guy,” Torres said. “He understands the people of Romeoville. He listens to what we have to say.”