2 candidates confirm runs for Hammond City Council vacancy

2013-05-16T17:45:00Z 2013-05-16T22:03:06Z 2 candidates confirm runs for Hammond City Council vacancyChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The pool of candidates vying for the vacant 2nd District seat on the Hammond City Council began to form Thursday.

Jack Uylaki, a Hammond Plan Commission member and lifelong resident of the 2nd District, confirmed he will run in the caucus.

Antonio Raoul Daggett Sr. also confirmed his candidacy. Daggett served for a short time in 2004 as executive director of United Neighborhoods Inc., a nonprofit focusing on improving the city's housing stock.

A caucus of 2nd District Democratic precinct committee members will meet in June to select the new council member in wake of Al Salinas' resignation Monday. Salinas, who was serving his fifth term on the City Council, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Hammond to a felony bribery charge and a federal misdemeanor charge of willful failure to file a tax return.

A date for the caucus has yet to be released, but it is expected to occur before the next council meeting June 10.

Both Uylaki and Daggett previously have made unsuccessful runs for City Council.

Uylaki ran for the 2nd District council seat in the 1995 and 1999 Democratic primaries, losing the nomination to Salinas in 1995 by a narrow margin. Uylaki’s wife, Faith Uylaki, currently is a precinct committeewoman in the 2nd District.

“I figure I can do some good over there and try to get something stimulated and just do something good for the neighborhood and community,” Uylaki said.

Daggett ran in the 2003 Republican primary for an at-large seat on the City Council and also has served on the Hammond Park Board.

“It's time for some honest, forthright leadership in the 2nd District,” Daggett said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who also is chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said he's known Daggett as a Republican activist.

"I've never seen him go to any Democratic functions ever, not one time," McDermott said. "I've gone to thousands of Democratic events, and I've never seen him at any Democratic functions."

McDermott said he also has heard that Salinas' son, Al Salinas III, has talked about running for the seat in the future. The younger Salinas could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Another potential candidate, Mark Olsen, who ran against Salinas in the 2011 Democratic primary, said this week he's thinking about running in the caucus.

Hammond businessman Raymundo Garcia has confirmed he will run in 2015 for the 2nd District. Garcia currently is moving within the district. He manages the El Taco Real Restaurant and is planning to open a restaurant in downtown Hammond.

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