SAUK VILLAGE | The anticipation and the crowd both were overflowing at Tuesday's Village Board meeting as Lewis Towers, the first black person to be elected village president in Sauk Village, was sworn in to office as part of the oath-taking ceremonies.
He was one of five members of the Citizens for Progress Party to take office Tuesday.
Towers spoke to the standing-room-only crowd after the ceremony.
"I am grateful and humble," he said. "It is my intention to be your voice in government."
Towers spoke of a renewed energy in the village.
"Our party is called Citizens for Progress for a reason," he said. "We want to bring a theme of people, pride, prosperity, and purpose to our village.
"Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, there is an excitement and energy. We have a lot of volunteers who want to help us make this a better community."
Debbie Williams took the oath as the new village clerk. Rosie Williams, Enoch Benson and Ed Myers were sworn in as village trustees. They all spoke of their pledge to build a viable village for all residents, starting with an open and transparent administration.
"One of the biggest issues facing Sauk Village is the quality of our drinking water," Towers said. "The residents I have talked to want the village government to undertake an initiative to improve the quality of our water. That will be one of the first tasks we will work on."
The village gets its drinking water from three large underground wells. The water, which contains a large amount of iron and sulfur, has been a thorn in the government's side for years. Options include using reverse osmosis as part of the filtration process or hooking into Lake Michigan water.
The Citizens for Progress Party also wants to increase the number of community programs available to village seniors and youth.
"We're already working on new youth programs," Towers said. "We want to expand the quantity and quality of programs available in the village."
Derrick Burgess, who ran against Towers for village president, remains on the board as a trustee. Burgess has two more years on his trustee term.