Oak Lawn voters made history on Tuesday by electing the first woman to serve as mayor.
Challenger Sandra Bury captured 53 percent of the vote to Dave Heilmann’s 46 percent in a stunning upset victory over the two-term mayor.
Bury took the lead out of the box by a handful of votes when the first returns came trickling in 45 minutes after the polls closed. She was down by just two votes when the second returns came in, then soared ahead where she remained for the rest of the evening.
The atmosphere inside the Stony Creek Golf Complex, where Bury awaited returns with her 93-year-old father, Bruno Bury, was giddy as the 51-year-old optometrist took it all in.
“It’s humbling to have this great honor,” Bury said. “I’d gone into it hoping to make a statement and the people are the ones that made that statement. I’m so proud of the people of Oak Lawn.”
Bury may have received a weekend bounce from Village Clerk Jane Quinlan’s endorsement. Quinlan distanced herself from her fellow village board members by running as an independent.
The popular village clerk was retained for a third term, swamping Heilmann’s running mate, Melissa Moran, winning with 66 percent of the vote.
Bury said she never felt beaten down during the hard-fought, often negative mayoral campaign.
“The people in Oak Lawn recognized what was going on and supported me in this great way,” she said. “For those who didn’t vote for me, I’ll work just as hard for them and hope to prove them wrong, so that they’ll see the great potential of this community.”
The mayor-elect had nothing but warm wishes for Heilmann.
“I wish him and his family the very best,” Bury said.