Four years ago I did not vote for Chris Harris. His campaign promises, including creating more opportunities for public input, fell on deaf ears as I thought we had more pressing concerns. My basement had flooded badly. My friends were leaving town or opting out of the high schools altogether and Mayor Calderone was passing the buck (it’s not my problem, it’s the Deep Tunnel’s!) and supporting Chris Welch, who I hold at least partially responsible for the condition of the high schools. Businesses were leaving town and there was no interest to do anything with Roosevelt Road (the mayor even said he’d “never heard of a town with two main streets”). 

But once elected, Chris demonstrated his ability to get things done even without the majority vote. When citizens were concerned the Altenheim was going to be sold out from under us, he held a town hall to find out what we want. The resulting discussion made it clear to the council that we were interested in preserving the space for use by Forest Park. Four years later, every single elected official who balked at Harris is suddenly admitting openly in candidate forums that, of course, Altenheim should be preserved as green space! 

Listen, I want Forest Park to thrive and I am aware we must be fiscally responsible and have consistent revenue streams to do that, but we seem to have lost sight of quality-of-life issues we face in 2015. We love Forest Park’s night life, but we want a safe place to go out and play (like the Altenheim), and good schools, and maybe safe bike paths one day. We want to mitigate severe weather by taking advantage of proven environmental solutions like green alleys, which our elected officials once dismissed but now seem to be open to, thanks to Chris.

I have been mostly happy with Forest Park, but I want elected officials who are creative and constantly looking way down the road for financial, educational and environmental issues/opportunities coming our way and how best to deal with them. 

I am thankful for all of the hard work that Mayor Calderone has done for our village over the past 20 years, but I do feel it is time to usher in the next generation of Forest Park leaders. I believe Chris Harris will fight for the things that are important to me and for that reason I am supporting him for Forest Park mayor.

Gina Thomas

Forest Park

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