By Devin Rose
The petitions are in and the candidates have been announced in River Forest's presidential election next spring.
Now, Cathy Adduci and Mike Gibbs are trying to reach prospective voters to let them know how they'll handle certain issues facing the village in the next four years.
Adduci, who has lived in River Forest since 1995, said she's sending mailers to homes in the village and has been using a Facebook page and her LinkedIn profile to reach voters. She'll also go door-to-door and talk to residents at village events.
Adduci said her 32 years of experience at Unisys Corporation, an international technology firm, will help her if she is elected on April 9. She said she's been a problem-solver and negotiator, and she knows how to manage finances.
Her experience managing corporate budgets will help in maintaining financial stability for the village, which faces a budget deficit next year, Adduci said. She also hopes to collaborate with leaders of other units of government in the village, like the park district and library, so they can work together for the good of residents.
She'll try to look at the common goals of River Forest and surrounding communities including Oak Park, Forest Park and Elmwood Park. All those communities cut trees and grass and lay cement, so Adduci said it makes sense to work together beyond River Forest's borders to cut costs for common operations.
Economic development, Adduci says in her mailer, could be the most important issue for the village to address. Adduci said she's worked with developers, community organizations and banks as part of her membership on the Economic Development Committee. She said the village needs to think bigger about the former Hines Lumber site on Madison Street to figure out how to make it a destination for developers.
Gibbs said as president he would positively promote the village so that developers want to work here.
"I want developers to think, 'We can work with these people, and they'll work with us,'" Gibbs said. He said if the village gives the business community the impression that everyone's in it together, the word will get out that River Forest is a good place for a development project.
He added the village needs to continue to be choosy about what will be a good fit for the Hines site. A development that will improve the community may not necessarily make the most profit, Gibbs said, citing the Gottlieb Hospital immediate care center on North Avenue as an example.
The most important thing to Gibbs and the potential trustee candidates he's running with— Lissa Druss Christman, Tom Dwyer Jr. and Kevin Hanley—is to keep River Forest the special place they believe it is and always has been, Gibbs said. Gibbs grew up in Oak Park and moved to River Forest in 1989, and the others were raised in River Forest.
The slate has said they're all committed to preserving the community's services and would like its future to reflect its past. But they also want to stay ahead of the times for challenges ahead.
Gibbs, an executive at Anderson Elevator company, said the village has done a pretty good job of keeping its finances in line for services like street sweeping and snowplowing. His team wants to keep that up, or make the services better, with the funds available.
To get the word out, Gibbs said he and his team will be sending emails and mailings and making calls to residents. They're still deciding if they should use social media, which Gibbs said seems a little more impersonal than talking to someone on their doorstep.
Gibbs and his team have said an advantage of running with a slate is knowing that their experience complements each other and they are like-minded, but not lock-step. Adduci ran with a slate of candidates, including Gibbs, four years ago. She said she sees them as a better option when potential candidates want to make a structural change to the board. Now that there is a sense of civility, she said she did not see a need to run with a group.