Four to run for Oak Park Board of Trustees

Incumbent Trustee Andrea Button says she won't seek re-election

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Four new candidates have surfaced in the upcoming election for the Oak Park Board of Trustees set for April 2, 2019, and all of them are connected to the new political organization, VOICE of Oak Park.

The new candidates are Joshua Klayman, who is a founder and lead organizer for VOICE and professor emeritus of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Susan Buchanan, a faculty member at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, where she serves as a physician member of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Group; Tim Thomas, who works for Ford Motor Company as global Ford production assistance coordinator; and Greg Marsey, a former Oak Park village trustee in the mid-2000s, who serves on the local Plan Commission.

The names of the four potential candidates were revealed at a VOICE of Oak Park meeting, held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Dole Public Library.

The candidates will be competing for the seats now held by Bob Tucker, Andrea Button and Jim Taglia.

Button has announced that she will not seek re-election next year. Tucker tells Wednesday Journal that he has not yet decided to seek a third term on the board, and Taglia said in a telephone interview that he is leaning toward running.

Marsey said at the VOICE meeting that, while he is considering running, he likely won't seek the position if good candidates surface to unseat the current incumbents.

Button said in a telephone interview that after serving five years on the board, "I'm just ready."

"I feel very good about the time I've served in office, and I'm ready to pass the baton," she said.

She might take some more time to "figure out what I want to do" but added, "I think there is part of me that is meant to serve," she said.

The three candidates at the VOICE meeting would be first-time contenders for elective office in Oak Park.

Buchanan has served as a health commissioner in Oak Park for about six months, she said in a telephone interview.

"I feel like Oak Park is at a fork in the road right now where it could continue on its current trajectory of high-rise development and a few homes or apartments that are affordable," she said, or Oak Park instead could take the route of "affordable housing and equity."

"If we continue down [the former] path, we're going to become another upscale suburb," she said.

Oak Park made "unbelievably bold moves" in the 1960s and 1970s to ensure diversity, she said.

"We can't just rest on our laurels; we need to keep paying attention," she said. "How do we stay this really cool, progressive community that is welcoming to everybody?"

Thomas, who is a union activist with the United Auto Workers union, said he first became interested in village government because of the shortage of parking.

"Where's the voice for an everyday working guy like me?" he asked.

Thomas said he is a renter and has repeatedly heard rhetoric at public meetings about the instability of renters. "I think that's the wrong approach and disrespectful," he said. "I want to be that voice that's pushing back."

The two remaining incumbents say they are still deciding whether they plan to run for office.

It would be Taglia's first run for the village board of trustees. He was appointed to the position in 2017, when Trustee Adam Salzman vacated the seat.

Taglia served as a trustee on the Oak Park Township Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2016.

"I'm still discussing it with my wife and my family to make sure I have the time and energy," he said.

Taglia said he's enjoyed his service with the village and learned "to become more open minded" from the experience.

"I try to put myself in other people's shoes," he said.

Similarly, Tucker said he is discussing the decision with his family but has not yet decided to run again.

"Over the next two weeks I'm going sit down with close friends and advisors and definitely my wife about whether I should run for a third term," Tucker said in a telephone interview.

He said it is an "exciting and challenging time for Oak Park." He plans to announce his intention to run or not in the first couple of weeks of October.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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David Wick from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2018 8:55 PM

For all potential candidates who are thinking of running for any of the five agencies holding elections next April there will be a Candidate's Workshop on Wednesday, October 17, at 7:00 PM at Julian Middle School. This workshop will provide details on what you will need to complete a signature petition drive, as well as have representatives from each of Oak Park's six taxing bodies share their experiences running for office, as well as what to expect if/when elected. No legal advise will be given, but rather just valuable insight into the whole process. A representative from the Citizens Advocacy Center will be on hand to talk about what you will need to do in regards to filing. This free event is being sponsored by iGOV, which is a collaborative team of elected officials from Oak Park. The goal of this give relevant insight for anyone interested in running for office. If you would like more information then contact David Wick at nc2332cn@yahoo.com.

Jason Ralph  

Posted: September 20th, 2018 4:14 AM

sounds good. looking forward to seeing a few real progressives on the board.

Neal Buer  

Posted: September 18th, 2018 9:23 PM

I think everyone that wants to should run. I want a candidate that will remove the village from the development business, let the TIF money go to taxes where it belongs, and focus on traditional village services like police, fire, and public works.

Christopher Bell  

Posted: September 18th, 2018 6:28 PM

Don't know - don't care. 26 months and boys are done. Will be packed and never heard from or seen again.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: September 18th, 2018 6:17 PM

God forbid that we become an upscale suburb. NOT excited about this crew at all.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: September 18th, 2018 5:40 PM

The article states that VOICE will not run candidates for the Township in this election. That's easy to understand. There is no Township election this next year.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park   

Posted: September 18th, 2018 5:31 PM

Easier way to get on the ballot. Yes, I agree that over 600 valid signatures are needed to get on the ballot, if you're running as a new party, or Independent. But if you run as a Democrat or Republican, you can file with only 25 signatures, due to technicalities in the law. That has not been utilized for decades.You would run in the February Primary. That isn't even held, if it uncontested, and then you are automatically on the April ballot. The same thing can happen to VOICE two years from now, after, it becomes an "established party" by getting more than 5% of the vote

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: September 18th, 2018 5:23 PM

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but how can a "slate" of four candidates run for three positions? Those petitions would be invalid at the outset.

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