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Resident and business owner, Brendan is the enamored husband of OPRF Teacher and IEA Union member Kelly Diaz. As supportive parents of three spirited young women, they are grateful for the wonderful experience they have had so far at Prairie Oak Elementary. Kelly and Brendan are also delighted dog parents to Herbie, a boisterous beauceron/lab mix (rescued from Waggin Tails). 

Elect Brendan O’Connor to be Your Mayor for Your Berwyn.

 

O’Connor is best known for his restaurant, Big Guys Sausage Stand, which he opened in 2012 just after the birth of his youngest daughter Michaela aka Mickey.
 
But his history with Berwyn started much earlier was first drawn to Berwyn when he purchased and restored a three-flat in the 6th Ward back when he was 26-years-old. Now as a resident of the 8th Ward, O’Connor has used his loud voice and cheeseburger pulpit to stand up for a minimum wage, the Welcoming City ordinance, and, most recently, to speak up in support of our Black residents at the Black Lives Matter in Berwyn rally.
 
O’Connor’s activism began as a young man protesting the Iraq War, he says, “The urge to make good change is in all of us, but it has to be activated. As Mayor I aim to activate the youth and ensure that residents’ voices are heard in City Hall.”
O’Connor was elected twice to the BDC Board of Directors where he served as chair to the Economic Development Commission.
 
From an inside perspective, O’Connor understands the value in the BDC, but firmly believes more attention should be paid to developing business incubators for resident artists and independent professionals. 
 
As a restaurant owner, O’Connor says he has learned a lot about leadership and, at its core, leadership is about recognizing the value in people.
He graduated with a BA in Journalism from Columbia College. At 18 his plans to travel and hold power accountable as a journalist were derailed when his oldest daughter Dylan was born. Dylan’s mother left... and as a single father he worked simultaneously in restaurants and attended school. Post college, O’Connor worked his way up as a corporate sales manager and it was at that time he met Kelly, a first generation Mexican American. Together they put roots down in Berwyn, and for the last 11 years have called Berwyn home.
 
Just this fall they dropped Dylan off at the University of Denver on full academic scholarship.
When their daughter Reilly was born, O’Connor opted to leave sales to be a stay at home dad so Kelly could go back to work.
 
“Being a stay at home dad was the greatest job I ever had, and it gave me time to plan out and finance Big Guys. The service industry was calling to me, I love it, it’s part of me and always will be, other industry folks know what I mean. And there’s a lot of us, yet we have no representation and we deal with people better than anyone. In Berwyn, we have plenty of lawyers representing us, but it’s time we take a new approach from someone who listens to what people want for a living.”
In 2015 at age 32, O’Connor was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer and underwent aggressive treatment and surgery.
 
Throughout those hard times, Big Guys continued to flourish and serve the community. It was during treatment that O’Connor felt the full support of Berwyn when many people from the city organized and came together to buy food from Big Guys as a show of support.
 
“It was during this time that Berwyn really began to feel like home for me, where I thought you know, you did good, this is the right place to raise my kids.”
O’Connor has been a lifelong Democrat. Big Guys is named after Former Machinist Local 701 President and legendary anti-war activist Bill Davis, who O’Connor counts as a dear, departed friend who helped inspire his activism. O’Connor was raised with four older sisters and two loving parents who now live here in Berwyn where they spend their time enjoying their nine grandchildren, who also live in the area.

“I care about Berwyn, that is why I am running for Mayor. This is Your Berwyn, and I am here to make sure that you are represented in our government.”

Brendan O’Connor: Father, Entrepreneur, and Berwyn Mayoral Candidate, looking to show people how the sausage is made in City Hall.

© 2020 YOUR Berwyn

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