Over the next few weeks, residents will have the chance to meet the candidates who are up for various offices at a number of the forums that will be taking place.

Starting tonight, the non-profit Citizen’s United in Forest Park will host its first forum: this one for candidates for the districts 209 and 91 school boards, and for park district. The event takes place on the third floor of the park district building, 7501 Harrison, at 7 p.m.

Citizen’s is also hosting two more events. On Feb 23, there will be a forum for commissioners; and on Mar. 2, the mayoral candidates will field questions from the public.

The Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and the Forest Park Review are also hosting two forums next month.

On Mar. 16, park and school board candidates will appear; and on Mar. 23, village board hopefuls will be hosted.

Both events take place at the Forest Park Middle School Cafetorium, 925 Beloit, and run from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Forest Park resident Bob Senechalle will be the moderator.

Lightford wants wage increase

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-4th), who represents Forest Park, introduced legislation last week that would bump Illinois’ hourly minimum wage.

Currently, the state’s lowest paid workers receive $8.25 per hour; however, Lightford and her fellow Democrats are proposing increasing the rate by 50 cents, plus the rate of inflation, the Chicago Sun-Times reported last week. This comes out to an hourly rate of $10.03.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, and Illinois already has the third-highest
minimum wage in the nation.

“There has rightfully been a lot of discussion lately about how to improve the state’s business climate. But as we go forward, I want to make sure that minimum wage workers aren’t ignored and forgotten,” Lightford said in a statement.

Doug Whitley, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce told the Sun-Times the proposal is “out of touch.”

“It’s [worker’s wages] an issue that’s near and dear to my heart,” Lightford’s statement reads.