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UPDATED Voter Guide: April 6, 2021 – Bloom Township elections

By Josh Bootsma

March 3 Update: On March 1, The Lansing Journal published a Bloom Township voter guide that we have since learned was inaccurate. The corrected version is included below, and is up-to-date according to the Cook County Clerk’s office.

LANSING, Ill. (March 1, 2021) – Lansing is part of two townships: residents living north of 186th Street are part of Thornton Township, and residents south of 186th are part of Bloom Township. Both townships have all of their elected officials on the ballot in the April 6 election. Candidate information for the Bloom Township elections is shared below.

Why Bloom Township elections matter

Townships exist to provide services to residents. Both Bloom and Thornton Township offer their constituents food assistance, voter registration assistance, help with filing property tax appeals, and more. Both townships also provide services for families and youth, such as counseling and after-school programs. Townships are also responsible for overseeing roads in unincorporated areas.

A township is smaller than a county, but larger than a municipality. Bloom Township encompasses all or part of 12 municipalities, including the southernmost strip of Lansing.

The individuals below are the names voters will see on the April 6 ballot for the Bloom Township elections. All terms are for four years.

Township Supervisor – Three candidates running for one position

TJ Somer (Keep Bloom Strong)

Bloom Township
TJ Somer (Photo from

Town of residence: Chicago Heights

Education: Juris Doctor, John Marshall Law School

Occupation: Attorney, Corporation Counsel, City of Chicago Heights

Resumé highlights:

  • I have served as Bloom Township Supervisor since 1997.
  • I am an attorney for over 30 years concentrating in municipal and government law. I have served as Corporation Counsel since 2006.
  • I am a lifelong resident of Bloom Township acutely familiar with its communities, residents, and the issues that confront us.

Most important issues: My team is dedicated to ensuring the continued operation of Bloom Township in a professional, responsible, and HONEST manner as it has been. Hence, our slate name “Democrats working to…KEEP BLOOM STRONG !!”

Under current conditions, we must continue to address the needs of our seniors and residents with pre-existing medical conditions as it relates to COVID-19 prevention and treatment through education, provision of masks and sanitizers, assistance with registration, and distribution of vaccines and well-being checks.

We must continue to expand our food pantry services to the growing population facing food insecurity. We now serve approximately 1,500 persons monthly and the need is growing. Nutritional health is an important factor in developing COVID immunity.

In our next term, the KEEP BLOOM STRONG team intends to assume the role as the regional leader in developing a plan and multi community commitment to addressing the homelessness issue.

Goals and promises: See above answer.

Lori Wilcox (Democrat)

No information available

Octavia Altheimer (Independent)

No information available

Township Clerk – Two candidates running for one position

Carla Matthews (Keep Bloom Strong)

Bloom Township
Carla Matthews (Photo provided)

Town of residence: South Chicago Heights

Education St. Agnes, Bloom High School, Prairie State College

Occupation: Orthodontic Assistant, Dr Lisa Eckenstein, Orland Park, IL

Resumé highlights:

  • Served as Township Trustee 16 years
  • Lived in Bloom Township my entire life
  • Have always had the desire to help the needy and senior populations

Most important issues: Our incumbent Democratic slate of township officials running as the ‘KEEP BLOOM STRONG’ has provided professional, responsible, honest government to the people of Bloom Township and we will continue to do so.

Goals and promises: We here at Bloom Township are committed to help the needs of the growing senior population along with further expansion of the food pantry to feed the needy and the needs of our homeless population.

Kelley Nichols (Democrat)

No information available

Township Assessor – Two candidates running for one position

Bloom Township
Nora Gomez (Photo from

Nora Gomez (Keep Bloom Strong)

Town of residence: Chicago Heights

Education: Olivet Nazarene University, Bachelor of Business Administration

Occupation: Village Administrator, Village of South Chicago Heights

Resumé highlights:

  • I am a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer (CIAO). I earned my designation over eight years ago.
  • Prior to being appointed and later elected to office, I held my Real Estate License.
  • I understand the importance of property taxes and have helped Bloom Township constituents with question, concerns, filing exemptions, and holding informational workshops.

Most important issues: It is important to have experienced elected officials that understand our communities needs. We are the KEEP BLOOM STRONG team! Throughout the years we have assisted our constituents with the professionalism and honesty they expect and deserve. It is extremely important, as an elected official, to carry myself with pride and dignity which in turn is a reflection of who and how I will represent my Bloom Township Assessor’s Office and constituents.

Goals and promises: My goal is to continue to serve Bloom Township resident with their property taxes. My office is staffed with qualified and experienced individuals that have the knowledge to assist our residents. If elected to another term, I will continue to work hard for our taxpayers. I stay involved and committed but, most importantly, informed along with other townships and at the county level through the Cook County Township Assessor’s Association (CCTAA) where I also serve on the Executive Board as secretary.

Larecia Tucker (Democrat)

No information available

Township Highway Commissioner – Two candidates running for one position

Joseph Stanfa (Keep Bloom Strong)

No information available

Francisco ‘Frank’ Perez (Democrat)

No information available

Township Trustees – Eight candidates running for four positions

Jacquelene Stewart (Keep Bloom Strong)

Town of residence: Steger, IL

Education: Loyola University Chicago

Occupation: Senior Investigator (Financial Service Industry)

Resumé highlights:

  • Steger/South Chicago Heights Library District Trustee (Board Member) 2009-present — Currently Vice President
  • Long-time Steger resident with years of service to the community including Friends of Library, Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of America, School District #194, and Steger Recreation.
  • Member of Faith Movers Church (non-denominational) located in University Park.

Most important issues:

  • Democratic values
  • Professionalism
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Transparency

Goals and promises

  • Service focus TO the people within Bloom Township and not the other way around.
  • Commitment to being professional, maintaining honesty, and preserve Bloom Township democratic integrity.

Cheryl Franklin (Keep Bloom Strong)

No information available

Don Garcia (Keep Bloom Strong)

No information available

Michael Noonan (Keep Bloom Strong)

No information available

Robert Benavides (Democrat)

No information available

Ricardo Leon Jr. (Democrat)

No information available

Leonard Morgan (Democrat)

No information available

Leshawn Ridley (Democrat)

No information available

The Bloom Township elections will be held on April 6, 2021. Bloom Township’s main office is located at 425 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL.


The Lansing Journal will continue to cover local election news ahead of the April 6 elections. Lansing Journal subscribers receive an email every morning with all of the previous day’s headlines, meaning they won’t miss any election-related news. Consider joining the thousands of people who have benefited from balanced, trustworthy, community-building news and sign up today:

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.