River Forest resident seeks seat on county board

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Former Forest Park Village Council member Mark Hosty is running for the Cook County Board of Trustees. Hosty is seeking the Republican nomination to run for county commissioner in the 9th District, where incumbent Republican Pete Silvestri is retiring after serving on the county board for 28 years. Hosty announced his candidacy on February 3.

Hosty served for 16 years on Forest Park village council, where he was a strong supporter of former mayor Anthony Calderone. Hosty was beaten when he ran for a fifth term in 2015. He finished last in a field of five candidates vying for four seats.

A few years ago Hosty moved to River Forest. The 9th District includes River Forest but does not include Forest Park or Oak Park. It also includes all or parts of River Grove, Elmwood Park, Rosemont, Park Ridge, Niles, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, and Chicago’s 41st and 38th Wards.

Hosty has been active in Republican politics for some time. He was twice elected as a delegate to Republican National Conventions, in 2008 when he supported John McCain and in 2020 when he served as a delegate for Donald Trump. In 2018, Hosty was elected to a Republican state central committee seat as a member of the Republican committee for the 7th congressional district.

He owns a commercial building on Madison Street in Forest Park where he long ran Healy’s Westside Tavern. Healy closed in 2020 after a long and successful run. The Forest Park Tap Room is now located in the space Healy once occupied. Healy has no connection with the Forest Park Tap Room other than owning the bar. The Forest Park Tap Room has been the subject of numerous complaints from some business owners and Madison Street residents complaining of excessive noise and rowdy and sometimes violent behavior by some patrons. Last year, the Forest Park Tap Room had its liquor license revoked by the Village of Forest Park, but last month the Illinois State Liquor Commission overturned that decision and ordered the Village to surrender his liquor license.

Hosty did not respond to calls, texts or emails asking him to comment on his county council run, but his campaign has a polished website that outlines some of his positions. Hosty positions himself as a candidate for law and order and as someone who wants to cut taxes.

“Stopping runaway crime in our area is my number one priority, followed very closely by lowering property taxes,” Hosty said in a post on the campaign’s website announcing his candidacy. “We need to adopt zero-based budgeting for the county with instructions to our department heads to cut anything unnecessary so we can allocate resources to fighting crime. Due to runaway property taxes, suburban residents will begin to lose their homes faster than they have their cars stolen. I want to lead the charge on crime control and property tax cuts.

The Blue Lives Matter flag is displayed prominently on the Hosty campaign website.

“All of Cook County has seen a wave of carjackings and it’s a real danger in the suburbs as well as the city of Chicago,” Hosty said. “Our prosecutors need to stop experimenting with social engineering and do the job they were hired to do: get criminals off the streets to protect our families. As a former Commissioner of Forest Park, I constantly encountered police and police command staff to make sure they had what they needed. The problem in Cook County and Chicago today is not the police departments working on the necessary reforms, but hyper-awakened legislators, prosecutors, and judges who endanger public safety by installing revolving doors in our police stations and prisons.

In the post on his campaign website, Hosty also touted his experience in local government.

“For more than a dozen years I helped lead my community as an elected municipal official, eight of them as a senior member of our council. I learned about the interplay between our county, state, and federal government entities to achieve the best possible results for the western suburbs. I would like to bring these experiences to the Cook County government to help reorganize its financial priorities and operational efficiency,” Hosty said.

Hosty served four terms as president of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to the website, he primarily works as a real estate broker.

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