Chris Harris

I want to say a very big thank you to every hardworking person who fought for positive change here in Forest Park during the 2015 campaign. We didn’t win the mayoral race, but we did send a message throughout Forest Park and Proviso that we are watching, paying attention and that we will be heard. 

With independent candidate Dan Novak and the Proviso Together slate posting resounding victories and the very close race we had taking on an entrenched four-term incumbent, well,  the days of being the cast aside ‘vocal minority’ should be numbered. Reform is in the air.

We had ol’ Tony on the run in the campaign — talking about the issues and his record was the last thing he wanted to do, and that’s because he didn’t have much to talk about. He resorted to hateful, vile and illegal tactics meant to defame and tarnish my image without a care in the world for what that meant on April 8 when I, and we all, had to return to being neighbors … volunteers … members of civic organizations, etc. 

Holding onto power for him meant that much. Frightening in a way, sad in another. At least everyone on my team walks away with their integrity and can sleep well at night.

Having served for four years with Mayor Calderone, my confidence in him as leader didn’t build in my time on the council. He “led” by marginalizing opposition voices, hoarding information and making decisions in an autocratic way — not healthy. 

But this isn’t about tearing Tony Calderone down — it’s about hoping that commissioners-elect Byrnes, Entler and Novak, with their three votes, stand up and realize they have the power. We as citizens can keep a closer eye on things, be more vocal and have faith in these fresh new voices to stand out.

Lastly, I want to thank all of Forest Park for the last four years I have had the honor of serving you. It was a humbling experience and I tried as best I could to be the “citizen’s voice” on the council. 

I’m sorry I let all of the progressive voices in town down and couldn’t bring home this last race, but at least it’s good to know that we shook up Proviso a bit and that, yes,  reform is in the air.

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