Elmwood Park village president candidate familiar to voters
The People's Choice canddiates for Elmwood Park village elections in April are (from left) Angelo J. Lollino, Anthony "Tony" Del Santo, Anthony "Skip" Saviano, Gina M. Pesko and Jeffrey L. Sargent. | Provided
Updated: January 28, 2013 3:05PM
ELMWOOD PARK — The moves have been made and a familiar political face is now seeking a new political seat.
Angelo “Skip” Saviano, whose last day as state representative in the 77th District is Jan. 9 after he lost his re-election bid in November, has set his political aspirations closer to home. As a member of the People’s Choice Party, he is running for village president of Elmwood Park in the April election.
Saviano said Elmwood Park Village President Peter Silvestri approached him about the seat. Silvestri said he is not running for re-election because of public perception surrounding his serving both as village president and a member of Cook County Board.
“He said ‘You lost your position. Maybe it would be a good time for me (Silvestri) to exit,’” he said. “He said ‘Would you be interested?’”
Saviano said he told Silvestri that he would think about it and gave him his decision a few weeks later, but wanted the slate that was part of Silvestri’s initial re-election campaign to look different.
“I told him I like these young guys,” he said. “I like their energy. I’m going to ask a couple of those guys to run.”
“Those guys” turned out to be Anthony “Tony” Del Santo and Philip Marcantelli, who at one time were a part of Elmwood Park Voice Party, which was initially running against Silvestri’s slate. Marcantelli decided not to run for a trustee seat.
Saviano, 54, is happy with his slate of candidates. Besides himself, that slate includes Gina M. Pesko for village clerk, and trustee candidates Del Santo, incumbent Jeffrey L. Sargent and Angelo J. Lollino.
He said this combination of candidates is a winning one.
“I think it is a great way to move the village forward with some new faces and some institutional knowledge and obviously Pete did a favor for me because he changed all of the department heads so everybody’s fresh,” he said. “I’m quite confident that we’ll be successful with this coalition.”
“These new people coming in are sincere and educated and they are as genuine as they come,” he said. “I’m just glad to be at the top of the ticket with these folks. It gives me new energy.”
He said after almost 20 years as a state representative he looks forward to campaigning in a different arena. “We’re going to run a positive campaign,” he said.
“I’m not promising anybody anything,” he said. “I’m going to try to build a coalition here and I suggest anybody with me do not promise people contracts, jobs or anything because that’s not going to happen.”
He said there has not -- and will not -- be any back-room deals. He reached out to Joe Ponzio and other members of Voice Party to join them, but “they didn’t want to be part of the team.”
“I run a clean campaign and I’m going to run on my record,” he said. “It’s about improving the quality of life of the people.”
That’s one reason Lollino, 41, who owns Massa Italian Café and Gelateria, 7434 W. North Ave., decided to run with Saviano as part of the slate. He said there have been opportunities to live other places, but has chosen to live and work in Elmwood Park.
“I’ve lived in Elmwood Park for about 25 years,” he said. “I’m very passionate about this community. I feel you have to give back and serving the public is a way to do that.”
He also believes that maintaining and bringing in economic development into the village is needed as well and believes Saviano can do that.
“I know him personally as a friend,” he said. “He’s a wonderful person. He has a very good work ethic. He’s obviously qualified and he has the resources when it comes to economic development.”
He said that’s the main reason he joined the slate when asked.
“What brings a young family to a town?” he said. “One of those things is economic development.”
Saviano can help with that, Lollino said.
“It’s a lot easier when you have those resources available and the understanding of politics,” he said. “This community has the biggest opportunities with Skip Saviano as its leader, period.”