Steve "Mongo" McMichael is running for Mayor of Romeoville. He may not be qualified, or up to speed on the issues. But he's got enthusiasm and a compelling personal reason.
But don't take our word for it.
Listen to the former Bears defensive tackle talk about his desire to run for political office in the three clips posted to this article.
Or peruse these quotable highlights from my chat with the big guy Friday morning.
Mayor “Mongo” has a catchy ring to it, but It could be the new title for former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael.
Mayor Mongo? I said I don’t care what you call me. Just as long as you call!
It’s funny, and sarcastic like I have been in the past. I’m a little more serious than that. But if that’s what my fans want, then go ahead. But by no means is this the whole part of me
McMichael says he’s been considering the run for several years, after hearing complaints from fans and customers at the football inspired restaurant in Romeoville where he is a partner at, Mongo McMichael’s. McMichael stayed away from pointing to many specific problems or issues facing Romeoville’s current administration, saying it’s not up to him or his opponent to decide what is important.
What the majority of the people in Romeoville want, that’s what should happen. Period. There’s no questioning that. There’s no debate about it.
Another priority, education, which the 54 year old father says comes from his 4 year old daughter.
The little girl that came into my life, Macy Dale, made me a dad. And boy does that change you. One of the main reasons I’m doing this is for her.
I'm pretty sure that all the townspeople in Romeoville that have kids are going to be all for what I'm saying about the education of our children. It should be a mayor’s number one priority.
Most of their complaints were about improving the business climate in the southwest suburb, expressing concern that Romeoville is in little regard to other nearby suburbs like Bolingbrook. McMichael said he wants to put the town, and its businesses on the map. Part of that is widening route 53, where his restaurant is located
The old main road has 3 different names, it's 53, or independence blvd, or old Rt 66. That’s the old part of Romeoville, where all the old businesses are. It needs some expansion.
Despite his larger than life enthusiasm when it comes to launching a campaign, McMichael remained especially vague on exactly what problems he plans to address in the village:
You know the elections not until April 9th. I've got plenty of time to address those.
Word of his candidacy leaked to the media earlier on Thursday.
“I was outed.”
McMichael says he wasn’t quite ready to announce his candidacy, but that he did consult other members of his Superbowl team before making the decision, including former coach Mike Ditka.
That’s when I told him, that I’m going to run for mayor of Romeoville. Do you know what he said? Two words. Do it!
“Thank you for the endorsement coach”
Former Bear Keith VanHorne has already called to congratulate him.
The 54 year old McMichael is not afraid to admit that he has never held political office.
Holt: What is your experience? SM: The same as George Washington before he became president. Did a pretty good job now didn't he.
SH: You were in the military? SM: You could say that, playing at Soldier Field.
Holt: Have you ever worked in elected office? In government? Some sort of civic leadership before? McMichael: Who do you think mediated that locker room for the Bears? Everyone knows the problems Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan had. Dan Hampton and Jim McMahon still can’t stand each other. Without me in that locker room, we would have never won. ... Yes, A locker room that is divided does not win, In the 80s we won 107 games, 6 div championships and one super bowl. I wouldn’t let guys spurn each other. It’s okay to argue, but argue like you’re a family.
The same tough work ethic that was prevalent during his championship season with the 85 Bears, is what he says will dominate his persona as a potential politician.
I've always been a worker. When I have a purpose, i put blinders on and it’s going to get done baby. I'm going to be the same as mayor of Romeoville.
Few Bears fans would imagine the rough and tumble defenseman, turned professional wrestler, and commentator, as a likely candidate for civic office. McMichael admits that the party hard, whipped cream spraying, and practical joking “Mongo” that fans saw on their televisions was a character.
“That was a character I played to entertain my fans.”
His says wife has even observed that he loves the lime light.
She said you know Steve, everything you show me, everything people tell me... you’re an entertainer! The light bulb went off, I’ll be damned. SH: but this isn't entertainment you're doing here. SM: I'm dead serious about this. When I’m talking about my little girl, I'm talking about the families of Romeoville, their livelihoods, the children... I'm not going to take that light because I want better for my little girl.
He doesn’t think there is anything in his past that would prevent him from being an effective leader.
Young men do things that they wouldn’t do again as an old man. That’s living life.
You learn from that, you move on. It’s called repenting in life. Oh, I’m never going to do that again.
I’m an independent moderate.
He says he is deeply religious, and even showed the cross that he has tattooed on his neck.
It’s when I bow my head, he knows I mean it.