Thank you to the Forest Park Review for allowing candidates one last opportunity to talk to residents. I'd like to start with a quote from the Forest Park Review from a few years ago.
"He (Chris Harris) understands the fundamental nature of management and governance today: Sharing. Sharing information. Sharing planning. Sharing decision-making. Bringing more people into the tent by both direct invitation and by creating a culture that says all are welcome, all are needed." Forest Park Review 3/24/15. I thank the Review for the kind words then, and the sentiment still rings true today. To thrive, our next council needs the input of all commissioners, consulting from staff, and most importantly—input from residents. As your mayor, I can assure you that your village hall will have an open door where are all are welcome and all voices will be heard.
I think independence is an important aspect in governance, and I have always thought Forest Park has had a rebellious streak in it to buck the tired trends of Proviso politics: the back door dealing, the patronage, the one hand washing the other. From helping to take back our high school district via the energy cultivated here with Proviso Together, to the strong independent voting record that usually shows the rest of Proviso "we're not falling for that!," I have shown I have no ties to the dirty gears that turn the Proviso machine, no favors owed across that landscape—and my focus is 100% Forest Park, working with our neighboring towns when needed, but not selling us out at the expense of our residents.
Way back in 2011 when I first ran for the council, the Review stated "Harris talks winningly about increasing citizen involvement while remaining independent himself. We're eager to see (an) enthusiastic and bright candidate like Harris on the board." And then cap it off just recently the Review wrote, "We admire his (Harris') past efforts to engage residents in important town hall discussions. That urge toward transparency and dialogue is essential in this divided town." Forest Park Review 3/20/19
Again, I thank the Review for the kind words, and I would like to think whether on or off the council I made every effort to increase citizen involvement and engage residents (holding town halls, participatory budget sessions, online meetings) but I wanted to point out the echoing of independence. We're at a crossroads here in Forest Park. We are replacing a mayor of 20 years, and we are choosing the direction our town is going to go.
I want to be your mayor and, as you can see documented by the Review, I have not changed who I am when it comes to my beliefs, convictions in governance, and my passion for Forest Park. I humbly ask for your vote April 2.
Mayoral candidate / former village commissioner