The Joliet City Council last week moved forward with plans to fill a recent vacated position by swearing in new council member, Brooke Hernandez Brewer.
Hernandez Brewer will finish the term of former council member Jim McFarland who resigned in September.
Hernandez Brewer said she must give thanks to everyone whose paths she has crossed to get her to this point.
“I recently over the past few years came in contact with some of the most amazing political people I’ve ever met,” she said. “I’ve met them through many different events, charities, through work. Through my union work, I’ve done stuff across the board and these people—you know all who you are—mean the world to me and without you, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
The lifelong Joliet resident has three children, and is marred to Kevin Brewer, a Will County deputy correctional officer.
Hernandez Brewer said everything she does is for her kids and their future.
“They are the reason that I get up everyday and fight the fight I do,” she said. “Because I’m not made of money, I’m not going to leave them millions. All I can leave them is a better world.”
Hernandez Brewer said it shouldn’t go without saying how greatly impactful her mother was in helping shape who she is.
“I was a raised by a woman, who long before feminist was a term, she was one,” she said. “She taught me to be strong and gentle, she taught me to be kind but not let that make me, she taught me to hold my head high but to never look down on other people. I love my mother… She made me proud of my heritage, of who I am, of where I come from. You’ll never hear me say otherwise.”
Hernandez Brewer said she must also credit her father for helping her to become the leader she is.
“My father taught me the important thing about politics,” she said. “He took me to my first parade, he helped me knock on my first door. He taught me that being behind the scenes is perfectly fine because usually, they don’t want people that are blatant, people that are not going to play the games. They don’t want them up front. Somehow I got here in anyways.”
Hernandez Brewer said like her father, she vows to be honest to default.
“I have to do what I know is best and that is to be honest and truthful,” she said. “I will fight hard. I will fight harder than you can imagine for the people of this city. I will speak louder—a lot of you know how loud I can speak—I will speak louder than you possibly imagine for the people that don’t have a voice in this community. I promise you that with the help of the councilmen and councilwomen, that I see here tonight, and our amazing mayor, we are going to take the city of Joliet to another level.”
Hernandez said what the community needs is justice, equality and unity.
Hernandez said together, they’re going to develop the city not only politically and financially; they are going to have a kind, interactive city where people care about each other.
“My mother told me long time ago, the best thing I could do is live in such a way, the devil will shudder and say, ‘oh, no, she’s awake,’” she said. “That’s what I hope to do for everyone.”
Mayor Bob O’DeKirk said he thinks Hernandez Brewer will make a good addition to the council. “I think it’s shown that there is progress in Joliet and we are taking steps forward,” he said.
O’DeKirk said he went through about 20 different candidates, and is cognizant that Hispanic representation was needed among members of the Joliet City Council.
“With the activism she’s done and I guess beyond the spirit of the idea that she really wants to work hard to move the city forward,” he said. “She has young children in the community. I thought she’d be a great fit for the council.”