LANSING | Earlier this year when state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, was contemplating a run for Congress to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., one of the local people supporting him was Village President Norm Abbott, who circulated nominating petitions on Trotter's behalf in Lansing.
“He wasn’t as familiar with the community as he was other parts of the district, so I helped him,” said Abbott.
Now, Trotter is repaying that political favor. On Saturday, Trotter walked the streets of Lansing with Abbott, knocking on doors of potential voters to try to sway them to vote for Abbott over Don Sciackitano in the April 9 municipal elections.
Trotter on Monday said his support will include having his city-based political workers go to Lansing between now and election day to meet voters, pass out campaign literature and try to persuade Lansing residents to vote for Abbott for another term as village president.
Trotter says his campaign workers will be his “in-kind” contribution to the Abbott campaign, who he says has been a responsible public official on behalf of Lansing residents. He said he was particularly impressed in his weekend walk with Abbott because whenever local residents confronted the two on specific issues, Abbott understood details and was able to answer questions thoroughly.
He also said he thinks Abbott is understanding of the problems that face the African-American population that is developing in Lansing. According to the Census Bureau, Lansing’s African-American population grew from 17 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2010.
“I think he would be a good (village president) for all people,” Trotter said.
Sciackitano was skeptical of such talk. He says he believes Abbott has not paid much attention to African-American people until these final two weeks prior to election day.
“If it’s their strategy to reach out to African-Americans two weeks before the election, they can do what they want,” Sciackitano said, adding that one of the trustee candidates on his Progressive Action Party slate, Timothy Williams, is African-American. “We have been reaching out to African-Americans for at least two years. People are smart, they will see the difference.”
Abbott said he thinks it is a shame that a pending criminal charge involving a pistol found in Trotter’s carry-on bag while trying to board an airplane at O’Hare International Airport derailed the congressional campaign that Abbott was prepared to support.
He said that while some people may now try to taint him with Trotter’s charge, Abbott said he believes Trotter to be a worthy public official who during his time in the Illinois Legislature has benefited the communities he represents, including Lansing.
“Under a previous mayor, (Trotter) helped us get money to buy a new firetruck. He helped me to get an extra $675,000 in motor fuel tax revenues for Lansing,” Abbott said. “He has done good things to benefit our community.”