Q & A with Joe Waldeck

Aneeqa Aqeel, Caucus Committee External Communications Chair, had a conversation with Joe Waldeck, Ward 1 Interim Alderman.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to the Lake Forest community. 

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and am one of 8 siblings, 3 of whom were born in Lake Forest. My father worked with Arthur Andersen and had to travel for work a lot. He came out for a project to Skokie, and we ended up moving to Lake Forest in 1957, due to his continued work obligations after surveying neighboring towns.  We used to live in a small house on E. Westminster Avenue, opposite the Church of the Holy Spirit. After a few years, my parents purchased a home here and we made long-lasting friendships with the families in town. Back then, Lake Forest used to be a small place, with no stop signals on the roads and almost everything in walking distance. My father was a big believer in giving back and in public service. He instilled that value in us and demonstrated it in his own life, serving as Mayor of Lake Forest from 1978 to 1981.  

I attended Marquette University and moved away for work. It was my marriage to Cathy who was born and raised in Lake Forest that brought me back here, where we have lived ever since.  It is an honor and privilege to serve this community that we really love. 

Please share with us your prior history of volunteerism and any professional experience relevant to your appointment as interim Alderman for Ward 1. 

I was appointed as Associate Judge in Lake County in 1995. I served until 2014 and during that time was prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct in Illinois from taking any public service positions in the Caucus or City government.  After retirement from the bench, I was appointed to the Lake County Bar Foundation Board, and also served on the Judicial Selection and Retention Committee for about 5 years.  I then served on the Gorton Center Board of Directors and on the Legal Committee for the City of Lake Forest, for which I also served as Chair. My wife and I have been longtime supporters and active on the Board of A Safe Place, which fulfills a mission very close to our hearts.  In May 2022 I was called back to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court, where I served until year’s end, giving up all other board positions per the Judicial Code of Conduct. 

What do you love about Lake Forest and what do you see as the defining strengths of our community? 

When you come to Lake Forest, it does something to you. It’s got the great beaches, the facilities, the wonderful houses, but really, it’s got the best people in the world. It’s a community in the true sense of the word, where everyone is involved and there are open forums to share ideas and work for the things we are passionate about, be it historical preservation or moving the city forward while preserving its historical character for our future generations. 

The Caucus is a strength of the community and every resident here is a member of the Caucus! The work that the Caucus does to help vet people for our Boards and Commissions is of essential importance. Most people in other communities don’t know who their mayor is or how many aldermen they have. They do not have any means of vetting people for unelected positions. 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve what my wife and I believe is one of the greatest communities in the United States, faithfully, honorably, and with great dedication. The future of the City lies with young families who love this community and are willing to dedicate their time to serving it!

9/26 – Open Call for Interested Residents

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Open Call for Interested Residents at Gorton Center from 7-8pm.

Open Call for Interested Residents is an opportunity for residents of Lake Forest to meet their Caucus Committee ward representatives to discuss:

  • opportunities to volunteer within the City,
  • the Lake Forest Caucus Committee, and
  • the Caucus system.

We are “volunteers seeking volunteers” and encourage the public participation in the Caucus Committee and across the boards and commissions of the City. We welcome all residents to complete a Volunteer Profile Sheet (from the Volunteer menu, select Create New VPS). This allows us to quickly identify citizens who are interested in serving in elected or appointed positions.

The open call meeting will be held at Gorton Center (400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045).


2023 Caucus Season

The Lake Forest Caucus, now entering its 89th season, has a busy year ahead! We will be strengthening various Caucus Committee operational processes, including interviewing and bylaws, as well as recommending new City Council members for Ward 1 and 3 and Mayor-appointed positions to City boards and commissions.

Elected positions

  • City Council Ward 1
  • City Council Ward 3

Appointed positions

  • Audit Committee
  • Legal Committee
  • Plan Commission

If interested in volunteering, please fill out a Volunteer Profile Sheet.

2023 Spring Meeting UPDATE

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
7-8pm at Gorton Center

Thank you to the 200+ people who attended the Caucus Spring Meeting.  We would also like to thank the Gorton Center for brilliantly handling such a large turn-out.  This strong community engagement benefits Lake Forest and the Caucus.  Past Spring Meetings have typically drawn no community attendees or in the low single digits.  The Caucus Committee hopes this level of engagement continues in the 2023-24 Caucus year.


  • President’s Report – David Hunt, Caucus President, presented an update on Caucus Committee activities, including City Boards and Commissions appointment recommendations.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Joe Oriti, Caucus Treasurer, provided an update on the financial condition of the Caucus.
  • 2023-2024 Caucus Officer Slate election.  Chris Benes, Caucus Vice President, introduced the 2023-2024 Caucus Officer Slate, which was confirmed by a vote of 139 FOR.  For transparency, there were 70 Write-In NO votes.

2023-24 Caucus Committee Officer Slate

We’re pleased to present the following Caucus Committee Members for the 2023-24 Caucus Committee Officer Slate.

Each of these individuals has the requisite skills and experiences to capably serve the Caucus Committee and residents of Lake Forest in their respective roles.  As Caucus Committee Members, they have consistently executed their duties in a non-partisan manner to advance the mission of the Caucus Committee to identify, vet, and recommend Lake Forest residents to serve on city boards and commissions and elected positions.  They have a deep understanding of Caucus Committee processes and knowledge of Lake Forest boards, commissions, and elected positions and are committed to serving the community in the 2023-24 Caucus Committee year.

  • PresidentChris Benes (Committee Member since 2020, one term as Internal Communications, one term as Vice President)
  • Vice PresidentJoe Oriti (Committee Member since 2021, one term as Treasurer)
  • TreasurerFred Brewer (Committee Member since 2022)
  • SecretaryDale Tauke (Committee Member since 2022)
  • FundraisingCindy Davidson (Committee Member since 2022)
  • External CommunicationsS. Aneeqa Aqeel (Committee Member since 2021, one term as External Communications)
  • Internal CommunicationsSteve Ratay (Committee Member since 2021, one term as Internal Communications)

2023 Spring Meeting

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
7-8pm at Gorton Center


  • President’s Report – David Hunt, Caucus President, will present an update on Caucus Committee activities, including City Boards and Commissions appointment recommendations.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Joe Oriti, Caucus Treasurer, will provide an update on the financial condition of the Caucus.
  • 2023-2024 Caucus Officer Slate election.

Statement about Beidler campaign finance complaint


Prue Beidler campaign Treasurer, Dianne Casuto, published a statement detailing their formal complaint and investigation filed with the State of Illinois against the Lake Forest Caucus. Casuto states, “For all their assertions of integrity and honesty, both the Lake Forest Caucus and Tack for Mayor Committee dishonored these values by exceeding the state imposed legal limits for campaign contributions…There is no question about it; this is a violation of state law.”

The rules issued by the Illinois State Board of Elections (26 IAC 100.75(i)):

“For purposes of Code Section 9-8.5(b) [the campaign finance limits], an election cycle ending on the date of the consolidated primary election shall end on that date even if no consolidated primary election is held in that jurisdiction. The election cycle for the consolidated election shall begin on the day after the date of the consolidated primary election, even if no consolidated primary election is held in that jurisdiction.”

“At issue in their misguided complaint is the timing of our campaign contributions to the Tack campaign,” said Joe Oriti, Lake Forest Caucus Treasurer. “Lake Forest Caucus PAC in-kind contributions to the TackforMayor Political Candidate Committee approaching $100,000 are split between two election cycles (one beginning March 1st 2023, and one ending February 28th 2023), and therefore are within the state legal limits set for campaign contributions. This information was verified by a simple phone call to the Illinois State Board of Elections.”

David Hunt, President of the Lake Forest Caucus responds, “Do you want a mayor that can’t manage a simple phone call, let alone is wrong about the law? If you want someone who is more measured, thoughtful, and does meticulous homework, then you should vote for Randy Tack.”

“This spurious complaint by the Beidler campaign distracts Lake Forest voters from what really matters in this mayoral race: electing the most qualified candidate. This is Randy Tack.” says Chris Benes, Vice President of the Lake Forest Caucus. “Randy’s complex problem solving skills, organizational management experience, and adherence to fiscal responsibility has enabled him to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people. He is the most qualified mayoral candidate.”

Oriti added, “Will the Lake Forest for Transparency website publish the facts from the State Board of Elections or will their silence prove that they are the press shop for the Beidler campaign? If the latter, I would hope they are reporting the cost of that website as required by state law…”

Hunt concluded, “I would note again, as I did in my e-mail to the community last week, that this level of spending is due solely to the actions of Prue Beidler, and is not sustainable for our community and the Lake Forest Caucus. In addition, any additional legal costs spent fighting frivolous legal complaints such as the one at issue here only adds to the costs of our undersized budget.”


Beidler Campaign Statement: https://lf4transparency.com/hijinks
Election Law: https://ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/026/026001000000750R.html