Election Day is upon us, and this marks a milestone in an effort that I have invested close to two years of volunteer time on, alongside other Forest Park friends.

I have learned that my right to question elected officials is better informed by my ability to get engaged in local issues with other volunteers, such as work around the village’s Welcoming Resolution and securing the right to a binding referendum vote in the 2018 Midterm elections. I have discovered through research a need in Forest Park to continue to grow, by embracing fresh ideas and inviting new faces to the discussions where forward-facing decisions may be made.

Principles and behaviors modeled by elected officials in village governance allow us to deepen our ties to community. Those include a genuine desire for transparency, inclusiveness, and responsiveness, which is the foundation of the team I support at Forest Park Forward and Rory Hoskins for Mayor.

Transparency is not a buzzword. It manifests itself in conversations with residents through active listening while seeking a genuine connection. It displays itself through deeds and an understanding that the ability for residents to see how the village is managed goes a very long way in building trust in a community. 

Being inclusive means being welcoming. It means celebrating the eclectic and quirky along with the traditional and generational – and it means accepting that all of us, whether settled in Forest Park for many years, a relatively recent arrival, someone who rents or owns a home, irrespective of where we come from and how we identify, have made a commitment to the small town charm that is our village, and can all have different outlooks and opinions that reflect our uniqueness.

And being responsive means being respectful of others’ time and efforts, and embracing new ways to communicate with residents, whether through technology, or a simple acknowledgement of a resident’s public comment in a Village Council meeting.

We choose to live here. We enjoy getting to know our neighbors and are establishing lifelong relationships with folks who found the Forest Park charm generations ago. And we believe that fresh ideas and new voices in village government are not a bad thing – because we are hearing from people from all walks of village life that change, coupled with gumption, transferable skills, and guts, is what will keep Forest Park moving forward. 

In this journey we have all learned together how to discuss what matters to us all – and how to respect each other and navigate through moments when we are not all in agreement.

On April 2nd, I ask that you consider voting for my friends, Rory Hoskins, Julianne Bonwit, Mark Boroughf, Jessica Voogd and Jon Kubricht. They are the fresh ideas and new voices we need for Forest Park.

And please – go vote on April 2nd. No matter where you land on the issues or the candidates, there is no more important civic duty than to exercise your right to vote, and have your voice heard.

Betty Alzamora

Forest Park Resident