It has bothered me for a long time that sports commentators always seem to want to interview the winner of a contest. Sometimes the best story is about the guy who finished ninth.

The purpose of this column is to honor and thank everyone who ran for office in this village and came in second, or seventh or ninth.

Was it worth it?

Marty Tellalian: “Yes, it was worth it even though it was a much greater effort than I anticipated in many ways, including physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Matt Walsh: “The campaign process, however grueling it was at some points, was worth it in the end. I bonded with the town like never before and had an experience only a handful of teenagers ever receive.”

Eric Connor: “During this campaign, I came to discover that I could be outgoing…with people I have never met before. I consider this a personal growth in my character, so therefore the short answer is ‘Yes.'”

Do you consider yourself a winner or a loser?

Tellalian: “Obviously, I lost the race so I am the loser. However, I do not consider the campaign to be a failure in the least bit. There is nothing wrong with losing as long as you try.”

Walsh: “Although it sure felt like a loss Tuesday night. . .receiving nearly 1,000 votes gives me confidence that the voters did have trust in me to fill an important position.  I feel that I did at least inspire people of all ages to be involved in the local government, and to see my cousins cry after the loss means that I did make a difference in some lives.”

Connor: “I outlined my objectives early in the process. . . .If those issues are addressed over the next four years, I will consider my candidacy a success.”

Do you think you contributed something good to our village by running?

Tellalian: “I offered our residents a legitimate choice on who would be their next mayor.”

Walsh: “I offered a new perspective to the council, and made the voters step back and think about what value the youth can have in governing I also offered an alternative to those who use aggressive, negative or even ‘big-city politics’ in our small town.”

Connor: “Many of the other candidates adopted my issues. I plan to speak up and question what they are doing to resolve them.”

Would you do something like this again?

Tellalian: “I don’t know if I will ever run for office again. Politics can be a very dirty business. There appears to be a ‘win at any cost’ attitude by both known and unknown candidates and groups. I was very disappointed by the outright lies that were being told about me and other candidates and don’t think I want to subject myself to that again. But these feelings of injustice and disappointment pass and anyone who feels that they can help our community has a duty to do so if they are able. Fundamentally, our village, county, state and federal governments will only truly serve the public interest when enough citizens actively participate in their governments and demand government for the people and accountability from their elected officials.”

Walsh: “I absolutely will do something like this again.”

Connor: “Probably not. I am sixty-one ears old. I don’t think I would have the energy.”

Closing Comments?

Tellalian: “I have tried to serve [the last four years] with honor, integrity and their [residents of Forest Park] best interests as the basis for all my actions. I would also like to thank all the people who supported me for mayor and for all their kind words and encouragement.”

Walsh: “Thank you very much for giving a teenager a chance to make a difference in the town we all love.”

Connor: “I believe that Forest Park is a remarkable community filled with remarkable people. I will. . .always try to add my better attributes for the betterment of this great village.”

 Tom Holmes has worked in Forest Park since 1982 as a pastor and as a writer. He is grateful that his children grew up in this town and finds inspiration in the personal relationships he has developed with so many.