Flossmoor made history Tuesday, April 6, by electing its first female mayor.
Michelle Nelson appears to have won the top seat in the village government, garnering more votes than Dr. Lakshmi Emory in the Consolidated General Election.
“It’s an incredible honor that I don’t take lightly,” Nelson said following the win.
Nelson earned a total of 1,627 votes (57.94%) to Emory’s 1,181 (42.06%), with 9 of 9 precincts reporting at 10:14 p.m. April 6, according to unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The tally of 2,813 total votes came more than three hours after polling places closed in Flossmoor.
Nelson said she was “ecstatic” when the results finally came through. She said the delay gave her a chance to celebrate the people who put their “heart and soul” into her campaign. And while she recognizes that her election is historic for Flossmoor, she wants the spotlight on the work to be done in Flossmoor and her ability to do it.
“It’s an incredible honor, but even in that honor I’d like to focus on the fact that I’m the right person at the right time for the job,” Nelson said.
Emory said around 10:20 p.m. that despite some mail-in ballots likely still being counted, with all nine precincts reporting it looked like the race was over. She wished Nelson well in the role of mayor.
“I congratulate her,” Emory said. “For the benefit of Flossmoor, I hope she does a good job.”
Flossmoor was guaranteed a new village president this year after Mayor Paul Braun announced he would not seek re-election. Both candidates ran in a unique election cycle during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, keeping some meet and greets small and making digital outreach more important. But Emory called it an “even playing field” considering they both ran under the same circumstances.
Nelson, a resident of Flossmoor for more than 17 years, is a civil engineer who put an emphasis on her ability to grow the village’s business community, fix the town’s infrastructure with a priority on roads and sewers, and highlight the diversity and inclusiveness of the community. She also pledged to improve services and raise home values through her work as mayor.
Nelson said infrastructure is the biggest thing on her agenda Day 1. President Joe Biden is working on an infrastructure package, and Nelson said it is her intention to make sure Flossmoor has “shovel-ready projects” to take advantage of that.
Nelson said there is also healing that needs to continue to take place both locally and nationally following recent elections. She wants to make some time for reflection to properly address those concerns. Nelson said the “inclusiveness and accessibility” of her campaign really connected with voters.
“Those two things were the most important part of my campaign,” she said.
To be a good leader, Nelson will need feedback from the community. She encouraged people to wave, say “hi” and share their concerns any time they see her in town. They may start with the fact that she is open to suggestions for a village clerk, as no one was on the ballot for the role. Nelson will have to appoint someone when she takes office. She said people can reach her at [email protected] with suggestions or interest.
Emory has lived in the south suburbs for nearly 20 years and in Flossmoor for 8 of those. She said during her campaign she wanted to help Flossmoor reach its full potential through economic growth and development, regional collaboration, and infrastructure improvements. She said she saw the role of mayor as an opportunity to take her community service to another level, as well as bring a skill set to the table that would allow Flossmoor to achieve greater.
Emory said she is proud of her platform and learned a lot from being part of the process. She said it was rewarding to connect with residents in the community along the way.
“I’m very glad about the campaign I ran,” she said. “I have no regrets.”