Charles Hernandez

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Charlie Hernandez

Cook County, Cicero Township Democratic Committeeman (1998-)

A life-long resident of Cicero, Hernandez began his Cicero political career as so many in his town do, as a police officer. The town and overlapping township's relatively small size (83,891 according to the 2010 Census) allows a police officer to meet just about every town leader. At the same time, the town's long history of corruption, going back to when Al Capone used it as his headquarters in the 1920's, has deeply politicized the police force, making it a patronage tool for Cicero town presidents (or colloquially, "mayors") for a hundred years. Eventually gaining the rank of police lieutenant under notoriously corrupt GOP-aligned Mayor Betty Loren-Maltese, Hernandez launched a quixotic campaign as the Democratic candidate for mayor in 1997, which has since become legendary due to the politicking and dirty campaign tricks employed by both sides.

Hernandez lost to Loren-Maltese two-to-one, and soon after he was suspended from the police force along with seven other Cicero police officers that supported his campaign by the victorious Loren-Maltese. Hernandez took control of the Cicero Democrats and established himself as the loyal opposition in Cicero. In 2002 Loren-Maltese was convicted in federal court for an insurance scam, where she used the city to funnel $10 million to personal use. A Loren-Maltese supporter, Ramiro Gonzalez replaced her in 2003, but the town's political landscape had changed entirely just two years later.

In 2005, another former Cicero Police officer, Larry Dominick ran in the Republican primary against Gonzalez, and won a surprise victory by a slim 157 votes out of 10,979 votes cast. Although Hernandez was the head of the Cicero Democrats, he's open that his party organization threw their support behind Dominick in 2005, and have never opposed him since, despite the fact that other Democrats have run against Dominick, and that Dominick has been the rumored target of multiple investigations since his first election.

Hernandez received political payback from Dominick the next year, when Dominick threw support behind Lisa Hernandez' successful campaign for state representative in 2006, a post she has held since.

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