I’m voting for Chris Harris as a resident of Forest Park since 2007. When I moved here, it was definitely because of the location. It’s so close to the train and such a nice place to call home. I lucked into the greatest neighbors one could hope for on Elgin Avenue.

In my time here I have watched Oak Park not only weather the economy but thrive. Meanwhile and next door, the streets in Forest Park flood more often and the water flows toward Madison Street. I feel such empathy for my neighbors here, and the businesses that remain because our infrastructure and shortsightedness are most likely driving away growth. We look like we are falling apart.

The potholes that were here when I moved in got bigger. Storefronts open and close, almost on cue. I began to see Forest Park as the poor cousin who made bad decisions, who was satisfied with good enough as long as they didn’t have to work harder than they already are. Forest Park needs help, and we need a leader who is unsatisfied with our direction.

I’m voting for Chris Harris because I love an underdog story. I love that he has gumption. I like knowing that he is not happy with how things are and has viable solutions. He doesn’t need to send me five vanity mailers printed on glossy paper to be cute. I can’t help but wonder how much time our current mayor wasted on mailers when he should be working for his constituents.

Harris wants to get to work. His resume is outstanding and he’s such a kind man. He is my clear choice.

I’ll be voting early and I am bringing a first-time voter with me. She is Venezuelan by birth and became an American citizen earlier this year. This will be her first chance to vote in the U.S., and she is so excited to make the effort. Becoming a citizen is an expensive and time-consuming effort, well worth the trouble, and she will be voting for Chris Harris too. 

This election in Forest Park is about our future. This is about changing the way things have been in order to move ahead.

I am 47 years old. People my age and younger have left the responsibility of voting to our seniors, and we are guilty of asking them to make the hard decisions we should be making together. It is time for voting in local races to matter as much as any election, so that more citizens can have a voice in government. I will not miss this election for anything, and Chris Harris is why.

M.J. Parlier

Forest Park