The field for the Illinois Congressional 3rd District is getting a bit more crowded as Jim Capparelli, a well-known southwest sider and one who has a large extended family, gives Jim’s campaign immediate credibility. The Reading on Walden Political Discussion Group will invite Jim out to our community. Mark Pera has already been invited and has accepted our invitation. He will appear here soon.
July 25, 2007 Southwest News-Herald – Oak Lawn, Burbank, Bridgeview
Lipinski Opponent Surfaces,
Chicago Attorney Throws His Hat in Ring for 2008
By DERMOT CONNOLLY, Southwest New-Herald Reporter
With the formal announcement last week by Chicago attorney Jim Capparelli that he was throwing his hat into the ring, it appears Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) will have two opponents in the Democratic primary race set for Feb. 5, 2008.
About 250 people turned out to hear Capparelli make his official declaration of candidacy at a party held last Thursday evening at the Argo-Summit American Legion Post, 6050 S. Harlem Ave.
Western Springs resident Mark Pera, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, had already declared his candidacy in the district, which takes in many of Chicago’s southwest suburbs, including Burbank, Bridgeview and Oak Lawn, in addition to several neighborhoods on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
The district stretches as far north as Cicero, and west to the DuPage County border.
Capparelli, 46, grew up in the Clearing neighborhood, and now lives in Garfield Ridge with his wife, Chris, and their two children.
A graduate of Marist High School, the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul Law School, he is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, serving as a Psychological Operations battalion commander.
He noted that he has combat experience, having parachuted as an Airborne Ranger. Indeed, he parachuted into Panama during the U.S. invasion of that country in 1989.
After returning from active military service, he was a felony prosecutor in the Will County State’s Attorney’s office and then the Veterans’ Rights Bureau Chief in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office before opening a private law practice with some friends.
Capparelli cited as qualifications his lifelong residence in the 3rd District, local ties, and military and professional experience.
“I am not an academic. I always worked, and went to law school at night. I am more in touch with the people in the district,” said Capparelli, alluding to Lipinski, who grew up in Clearing but was a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee before being picked by his father, former Cong. Bill Lipinski, to take over his seat in Congress in 2004.
The way Lipinski was chosen for the seat, by party leaders after the primary, rankles Capparelli, and Pera is expected to make it an issue in the campaign as well.
“Whenever someone subverts the democratic process like that, you’ve got to say that is not right,” said Capparelli.
He said that his military experience would also benefit the country as lawmakers work to bring the Iraq war to a conclusion.
“I certainly think I have a lot to say about the conduct of a war,” he said.
“Clearly, it is time for some sort of exit strategy,” he said, regarding the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
“(Capparelli) is honest and sincere, and truly into helping the people of this area,” said one of his supporters, Anthony Barone, explaining why he came to the campaign event. “Nothing against the Lipinskis, but they are still the old-time politicians.”
For his part, Jerry Hurckes, Lipinski’s chief of staff and Oak Lawn’s 1st District trustee, said the congressman will run on his record.
He said the way Lipinski was appointed the Democratic nominee in 2004 is “old news.”
“We are beyond that. We have had elections since then,” said Hurckes. “I think (Lipinski) has done a great job representing the district as congressman.
“He is back in the district every weekend. He holds regular town hall meetings and offers a lot of constituent services. He keeps the voters informed with his newsletter. These are the things you ask from your congressman. And he has been supportive of our troops and is working on bringing them home.”
He said the congressman’s academic background is beneficial to the district as well.
“You don’t have too many congressmen with doctorate degrees, besides being an engineer,” Hurckes said.
Capparelli’s supporters, which includes a large extended family, said they know the race will be challenging, especially from a financial aspect.
While Pera has received more than $54,000 and already lent his campaign $86,000 for the campaign, and Lipinski reportedly already has almost $200,000 in his campaign coffers, Capparelli’s supporters said he is essentially starting with nothing, except for a large extended family and friends to help him get the word out.
“Jim is a neighborhood guy. He has a great work ethic and we will all be out there helping with the campaign,” said his brother-in-law, Mike Caruso.