I witnessed an amazing sight a couple of days ago: a candidate for office jumping out of his seat and talking excitedly—to the point of shouting—about our aging wastewater system.

“Someone needs to talk about infrastructure!” proclaimed Wallace Davis III, who supervises sewer maintenance for the city’s water department. He pushed himself away from the table, where we were eating a late breakfast of catfish, cabbage, and mac ‘n’ cheese in the back of Wallace’s Catfish Corner, a west-side institution owned by his father, former alderman Wallace Davis Jr. “Someone needs to talk about catch basins! Someone needs to protect our basements from flooding!”

It’s not the kind of speech that catapults people to the upper reaches of politics, but it made sense for Davis, one of nine Democrats, three Greens, and two Republicans running for the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago.