Women poised to make history in suburban elections

Several suburbs are holding elections Tuesday, choosing mayors, trustees and council members.

Video Transcript

SARAH SCHULTE: With a population of just over 5,000 residents, suburban Willow Springs is tucked away along the banks of the Des Plaines River in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. In its 129-year history, the village has never elected a female mayor until this year.

MELISSA NEDDERMEYER: I love this town. I was born and raised here. And now I'm raising my own three sons here. And so it's just very near and dear to my heart.

SARAH SCHULTE: Melissa Neddermeyer is running unopposed for Willow Springs mayor. For the past four years, the 40-year-old lawyer has served as the village's only female trustee.

MELISSA NEDDERMEYER: It's nice to see now so many women taking on leadership roles. So I'm just proud and honored that our community seems to be one-- and our leadership seems to be one-- that is really supportive of women in leadership roles.

SARAH SCHULTE: Residents going to the polls today say it's about time, especially for a town that long ago, had a reputation for organized crime and corruption.

ROBBIE RAKOW: I think that's really good because Willow Springs pas I guess is pretty-- been pretty shady.

CONNIE KENT: I have not seen a woman on the ballot in the last [INAUDIBLE] years I've lived there. So I think change that women are stepping up because they feel they have the right to.

SARAH SCHULTE: Change is not only coming in the form of gender. Neddermeyer and some trustee candidates represent the Integrity Party, a political party they formed in 2017 to bring honesty back to government.

Willow Springs is not the only community about to make history. There are some other Chicago area suburbs that will also be electing their first female mayor.

Two female candidates are running against each other in south suburban Flossmoor. And if Tiffany Henyard wins, she will become south suburban Dolton's first woman mayor. Women stepping up to run for political office is part of a national trend that many hope will keep going in all elections, big and small.

In Willow Springs. Sarah Schulte, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.