Eleven of the 16 candidates running for seats on the village board this year are non-incumbents, including four who filed their petitions close to the Dec. 20 deadline.

Sam Tarara, a real-estate agent; Tad Mossell, a regional cable salesman; Gwendolyn Crayton, who sells cosmetics; and Tom Mannix, a consultant specializing in new media, will vie for spots as commissioners on the five-seat village board in the general election on April 5. The Forest Park Review recently caught up with the candidates to discuss the village, the election and their campaign platforms.

Mossell, the regional sales manager at Lake Cable LLC, a wire manufacturing company in Bensenville, told the Review he is running because he wants more of a say in local government.

Mossell said he regularly attends village meetings, but he doesn’t “hear the commissioners’ voices a lot.”

“I go to meetings where nothing is said,” he said, in a phone interview. “If I don’t agree with something, I will not be quiet.”

He also said he wants to be involved in village decisions that could affect children and senior citizens.

Mossell said he communicates well with others and his lengthy resume, which includes jobs as a waiter, a tuck-pointer and a mental health specialist, qualifies him for the position.

Sam Tarara, who sells real-state in Chicago for Koenig & Strey, moved from Naperville to Forest Park four years ago.

In an e-mail, Tarara explained that if elected, he would use his position in the Chicago real-estate market to try to convince families to move to Forest Park.

“Continuing to attract businesses and other investments in the village is key, as well as encouraging new people to consider Forest Park in their home search,” Tarara wrote.

“I see so many [Forest Park] residents improving their homes, making the ultimate investment in their town and home, I would continue to support people in these efforts,” he added.

Tarara is also on the board of directors for the Jesse White Tumblers and a developer and commercial property landlord.

“He [Tarara] has been quite active…in terms of generating some much needed funds,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White told the Review.

“He has a desire to make a difference in the life of people,” White said. “I can very easily hold him in high esteem.”

Tom Mannix is a consultant who specializes in new media and the managing partner for Chicago-based Constituent Consultants LLC.

Mannix described Forest Park as an “emerging village.”

“I am running for commissioner to help move Forest Park forward,” Mannix wrote in an e-mail.

Mannix wants to “move forward with economic development, a charter high school, and creating a safe environment for our teens.”

To boost the local economy, Mannix said he would encourage more residents to buy locally. He said a charter school will incentivize more families to remain in Forest Park when their kids enter high school, and also raise property values. He also stressed the need for a safe and economically opportunistic village for young adults “so they learn the value of work.”

Gwendolyn Crayton did not respond to numerous phone calls and e-mails.

Last week, Mannix’s mother Elsie Radtke filed challenges to the ballot petitions of incumbent commissioner Rory Hoskins, part-time bus driver Connie Custardo and retail merchant Jon Kubricht.

On Wednesday, a three-panel board comprising Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz, Mayor Anthony Calderone and attorney Michael Davies will judge the merit of Radtke’s objections. A decision was not reached by deadline.

Moritz also said that problems with Crayton’s paperwork could disqualify her from the race.

Presently, there are two candidates running for mayor and 14 people running for commissioner that will face off in the general election on April 5.