Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Forest Park Review sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Profession: Recreation Supervisor, Park District of Forest Park
Years in Proviso: 32
Spouse, if applicable/children and ages: Eric, Jaxon (10) and Madelyn (8)
Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before? If so, when and which office?
If you are not currently on the village board, how many village board meetings have you attended in the last year?
Why are you running for this office?
I have always been invested in making Forest Park a better place to live through both work and volunteer hours. My work with the Park District, School District 91, the Chamber of Commerce, the Community-Wide PBIS team, in addition to serving on the Village’s Youth Commission and the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee have introduced me to the many people involved with making Forest Park a great place to live and work. I have also coached for the Forest Park Youth Soccer Association and understand the tremendous impact volunteers have on a community. I am very interested in the projects and challenges coming up in the next several years and feel I can offer a perspective that encompasses the experiences of multi-racial female. We need to make Forest Park a destination for businesses to want to locate here. Surrounding villages have made enhancements that have had an impact in attracting new businesses and the revitalization of Roosevelt Road is an essential part of keeping Forest Park a marketable business destination. Flooding has affected almost everyone I know in town and is a major concern that needs to be addressed. These types of projects need input from a diversified field. My involvements in in many local organizations provide me with a wide range of people to reach out to for feedback. The Village Council needs a new voice to speak up for residents and I am confident that I can be that voice.
What do you think are the three biggest challenges facing the village in the next four years?
- Ensuring the current level of services provided to residents and businesses is maintained while controlling taxes and fees.
- Managing the budget with the diminishing state funds
- Continuing to attract and retain both businesses and residents- we need to look for new and innovative ways to continue making Forest Park a marketable place to live and work.
What skills/talents do you have that would enable you to deal with those challenges?
One of my strengths is the ability to see multiple viewpoints on an issue to help come to agreement on a solution. I have had an active role in Park District and Chamber events where it was necessary to achieve a group consensus amongst people with differing opinions. I have learned a lot about what it takes to bring people together to see the same vision. Over the past few years I have not seen the council work as efficiently as I believe they can. I am confident I can assist in pulling the council together, so that we can have thoughtful and respectful dialogue to progress Forest Park forward for the residents.
I’ve been successful in seeking out, applying and obtaining state and national grants and awards. These grants and awards have led to additional services to the residents. It has also opened the door for me to work with our state representatives and statewide associations. In working at the Park District, which is its own taxing body, I understand the importance of maintaining a fiscally responsible budget, while still providing best of class services to the residents. My job as the Recreation Supervisor is to find and create programming that services the residents of Forest Park. This involves finding out what services are needed and desired and then putting in place programs that are affordable for residents and meet their needs. I have a large reach in Forest Park through my relationships at the Park District, School District and coaching for Forest Park Youth Soccer. My ability to market information and engage residents is something I already do on a daily basis making it an easy transition for me to do the same at the village level.
If elected, what are three goals that you have for the next four years?
- Maintain and continue to improve the village’s financial strength
- Development of the Altenheim property
- Comprehensive 5-20 year plan on improving the infrastructure
If you are running as part of a slate of candidates, why? If not, why not?
In Forest Park we file as independents. Residents vote for individual commissioners. Prior to making my decision to run, I met with the three candidates who had, at that time, publically stated they would be running for commissioner. I wanted to determine our ability to work together to move Forest Park forward. After those meetings I determined we shared many big picture goals, even though we may have different ideas on how to achieve those goals. I have not always agreed with the current Mayor, but I also know that it is important to put differences aside to move Forest Park forward.