We are pleased to have the opportunity to endorse Ray Johnson for Oak Park village trustee. In addition to being a colleague and neighbor, we are honored to call him friend.
We first met Ray in the mid-1990s when he came to our door campaigning as a candidate for village trustee. He was enthusiastic, committed and tireless. Even though he didn't have any kids of his own, he was more familiar than we were as parents with what was going on at our schools because he was volunteering as a mentor and tutor for our students. That really impressed us and our kids, who also consider him a friend. We'd never met a gay man without kids who liked to spend his free time in local public schools. He was successful in that campaign and has never lost those qualities as he has given his full commitment of time, energy and talents to Oak Park.
What stands out in our minds about Ray is his constancy and levelheadedness, even during some pretty tumultuous times on the board. When others have lost perspective, Ray consistently remains rational, clear and compassionate. I cannot think of a time when I have heard him be judgmental. He is an imaginative problem solver and is willing to collaborate with people who hold all kinds of perspectives in search of solutions that are for the greater good. I have never thought of Ray as a politician, but rather a man who has a greater vision for our community and its inhabitants.
Do your village a favor and re-elect him to the board of trustees. As we face some pretty difficult times ahead as a community, we need that kind of person "on board" — literally!
Elizabeth Ritzman and Cheryl Haugh