Rory E. Hoskins

Mayor Rory Hoskins will make his first trip to the White House in September. He has been invited to be part of a celebratory signing of the Biden administration’s hard won Inflation Reduction Act.

Hoskins said he was unclear why he was invited beyond having been an early backer and convention delegate for Joe Biden during his 2020 Democratic primary.

Hoskins, who will fly out to Washington DC early on Sept. 13, said in addition to hopefully meeting the president that he intends to connect with a White House liaison to the Pentagon to discuss the village government’s interest in a military facility on Roosevelt Road.

“I hope to meet President Biden and shake his hand,” said Hoskins. He also hopes to meet with other dignitaries.

“I plan to reach out to the White House liaison to the Pentagon to discuss the army facility on Roosevelt Road.”  The now vacant property is being offered to public and private developers through a complex swap that would require bidders to invest in infrastructure at another military site in order to be gifted the Forest Park location.

The White House invitation came amid of flurry of invitations Hoskins has received in recent months. These include an appointment to the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade (IGPAC).

“IGPAC is an organization that sets trade policy for the Unite States,” said Hoskins. The appointment was made by Assistant Trade Representative Sophia Sokolowski. “I was contacted 18 months ago and met with Sophia,” Hoskins recounted, “I told her about my trip to Mauretania. That’s why I was appointed.”

Although it’s a non-paid appointment, Hoskins could see local businesses profiting from his position. “I can advocate for companies in the Near West suburbs that export to other countries.” These would include several Forest Park based companies, including Ferrara Candy and Kribi Coffee.  

Hoskins was also among a group of Illinois residents who were invited to attend the Edgar Fellows Program, which was started by former governor Jim Edgar 10 years ago. There were 160 nominees for the conference and only 40 were chosen. “We had 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans,” said Hoskins, “because the conference is about building bipartisanship.” 

For five days, Hoskins and the others attended workshops at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. “We met in groups of six and the rosters kept changing so we could meet as many new people as possible. It was a very diverse group and it was really rewarding.”  

Local luminaries including Speaker of the House Chris Welch, Cook Count Board President Toni Preckwinkle and WGN Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling addressed the conference. Edgar attended every session. Hoskins estimated there were 8 to 10 Illinois mayors in attendance.  

Hoskins will be attending the White House event on his own. The invitation did not come with a “plus one.” 

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.