Bloom Township elected officials sworn in

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by Mary Compton
Judge Luciano Panici (far right) swears in (from left) Cheryl Franklin, Don Garcia, Jacqelene Stewart, and Michael Noonan as Bloom Township trustees. Garcia and Stewart are the newest members of the board. (Photo: Mary Compton)

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (May 24, 2021) – Residents and friends showed up to the Bloom Township garage on Tuesday, May 18, to watch the swearing-in of the Bloom Township board. Taking their oaths again were Bloom Township Supervisor TJ Somer, Highway Commissioner Joe Stanfa, Bloom Township Clerk Carla Matthews, and Trustees Cheryl Franklin and Michael Noonan.

In addition, the board welcomed two new trustees — Jacqelene Stewart and Don Garcia — who were voted in after Kevin Watson and Laretta Adams retired.

Honoring the past; preparing for the present

“As a supervisor, as a CEO, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive board,” said Supervisor Somer. “This is a board I can trust, a board that has been the life and breath of Bloom Township. I wanted to say to the bottom of my heart to Kevin and Laretta, thank you.” Both trustees have served the residents of Bloom Township for over twelve years, and they were honored with gifts presented by the Bloom Township board.

TJ Somer is sworn in for another term as Bloom Township Supervisor. Giving him the oath is Luciano Panici, Judge of the Illinois Circuit Court. (Photo: Mary Compton)

Luciano Panici, Judge of the Illinois Circuit Court, performed the swearing-in for most of the board, though Highway Commissioner Stanfa asked his uncle, Thomas Stanfa, to do the honors for him.

Words to the community

“I grew up riding my bike to Skyline pool and playing football at St. Kieran’s,” said Trustee Noonan, addressing the public. “I’ve been here most of my life. We’ve been working together for many years because we want to see the communities we’ve grown up in to continue to be as great as the way we remember them when we were kids. …We’re here to do specific things — one of those is to take care of our seniors who live in our township and want to continue to live on their own. We all work together to do the right thing and work together for everyone.”

Supervisor Somer was sworn in for his seventh term. Somer and his team were instrumental in getting the Bloom Township food pantry open. He and the board are now working on new initiatives, he said. “We will continue to operate and expand current programs, and we will take the lead on spearheading a collaborative effort with the 12 communities of the Township to address the serious homeless issue that exists,” said Somer.

New Trustee Stewart can’t wait to get to work for the Bloom Township residents. “I can’t wait to get the ball rolling,” she said. “I want to mention diversity and inclusion. In 2009, I became the first African American individual elected in Steger. I mention that because progression does not have to be loud. I believe Bloom Township is progressing.”

Lifelong Chicago Heights resident and new Bloom Township Trustee Garcia told the audience, “I can’t wait to get started and to work for all of you.”

Jacqelene Stewart and Don Garcia, new trustees for Bloom Township, thank the board members for welcoming them to their first meeting. (Photo: Mary Compton)

Highway Commissioner Stanfa summed up the unity of the Bloom Township Board: “I’m happy to keep my family name and the Bloom Township name proud. There has never been a day on this Bloom Township board where nobody has done anything illegal or unethical. Keep Bloom strong.”

The crowd applauds the swearing in of the Bloom Township board on May 18. The board now includes Assesor Nora Gomez, Supervisor TJ Somer, and Trustees Michael Noonan, Cheryl Franklin, Don Garcia, and Jacqelene Stewart. (Photo: Mary Compton)

About Bloom Township services

Bloom Township offers many programs and services to township residents, though some were put on hold due to COVID restrictions. For the most current information, residents can call Bloom Township headquarters at 708-754-9400.