55 year-old Steve McMichael may have aged a bit since his glory days with the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, but his fighting spirit and quirky sense of humor haven’t changed a bit. Last week, the former professional football player filed nominating petitions to make his bid for Mayor of the Chicago suburb of Romeoville official.
Steve McMichael for Mayor
When he played on the Chicago Bears’ defensive line, Steve McMichael was known as a tough, mountain-like, immovable object. ‘Mongo’, as McMichael is called, didn’t move very quickly toward the end of his decade-long NFL career. But he didn’t have to. Nothing got past the Bears’ defensive line in those days. McMichael, who resembled a Hells Angels biker more than a football player, put a modern day face to the proud nickname ‘Monsters of the Midway’.
Steve McMichael was originally drafted out of Texas University in 1980 by the New England Patriots. He was acquired the following year by the Chicago Bears, where he played until spending one year in Green Bay in 1994 and then retiring.
‘Mongo’ holds a number of distinctions, some helpful and some hurtful in his bid for Mayor of Romeoville. To his credit, and a sign of his sheer toughness, even with the bang-up job of a defensive lineman, McMichael held a streak of 101 consecutive NFL starts that stretched almost an entire decade until 1990. Former Bears coach Mike Ditka, another past Bear known for his toughness, remarked once that McMichael was the toughest player he ever coached.
To show that Steve McMichael’s ‘toughness’ hasn’t left him since his retirement from the NFL, the former Bear was actually thrown out of a Chicago Cubs game in 2001 after singing Wrigley Field’s traditional 7th inning stretch song ‘Take Me out to the Ball Game’. While at the game, McMichael jokingly commented that he’d be waiting for the home plate umpire after the game to discuss a controversial call against the Cubs. Upon hearing about it a few minutes later, the umpire crew ejected McMichael from the park.
In August, McMichael made a public statement regarding his desire to run for Mayor of Romeoville, Illinois. The news was widely reported, but few were certain just how serious he was. Giving his campaign credibility, McMichael moved from the neighboring suburb to Romeoville in time to satisfy residency requirements for Mayoral candidates. Now, his run is official. Last week, the former Bear and College football Hall of Famer filed the required documentation and nominating petitions to have his name included on the upcoming ballot.
Romeoville, Illinois is an affluent, southwest side Chicago suburb in neighboring Will County. Its population bucks national trends in a number of ways, including the age of its citizens. While senior citizens and other baby boomers are the largest demographic nationally, 25 to 44 year-olds are the prevailing age group in Romeoville. Also illustrating the town’s youth is the fact that 43% of households have children under 18.
Romeoville residents are 84% white, 5% black, with 13% of the population reporting at least some Hispanic lineage. The average household income is $60,738 and the suburb watched its total population jump from 21,153 in 2000 to 39,680 in 2010. The area has also shifted in recent years from being a pro-Republican stronghold to an even split, with Democrats taking the most recent election. Almost doubling in size over the past 10 years, many of Romeoville’s new citizens are transplants from Chicago who have fled the burden of overwhelming taxes and corruption – 2 of the 3 most-cited reasons by people fleeing Chicago for the suburbs.
So far, there are at least 3 candidates for Romeoville Mayor. Joining McMichael are former Mayor Fred Dewald and current Mayor John Noak. Election watchers expect an exciting and colorful campaign, and not just because of McMichael and his current Chicago sports radio show. Fellow candidate Dewald was forced to resign as Mayor in 2008 after pleading guilty to a DUI charge.
McMichael isn’t taking anything for granted, as evidenced by his pick of Gail Raucci as his campaign manager. Raucci has experience running for the office as she waged an unsuccessful bid for Romeoville Mayor against Noak in 2009. “I’ve always relied on the counsel of the people who have been there before me,” McMichael said to local reporters of Raucci’s role in his campaign.
According to the Will County, Illinois Board of Elections website, the Primary Election is scheduled for February 26, 2013, with the General Election following on April 9, 2013.
Subscribe to this Chicago independent political column. It’s FREE and you can unsubscribe at any time. Simply click on the ‘Subscribe’ link in the author bio section below.