I am calling on you the voters to consider a different diversity for membership on our village board. As important as our need is for economic, racial, and sexual diversity, we must provide for intergenerational diversity, especially with our Golden Agers. It is not an exclusive club. You do not have to be born in it, make a decision to join up, belong to any economic class, or pass an entry exam. It happens to all of us, whether we like it or not, just by living long enough.

This is not to say that only members of a group can voice pertinent opinions on their issues or vote for relevant solutions, but simply that a diversified board gives citizens more confidence that their elected leaders have respected them, felt their pain, and used it in making the final decision. Citizens more readily accept final resolutions if they believe they were clearly heard and that they had a part in the outcome. Neither does it mean that a trustee cannot make a valid choice if he has not personally walked in the shoes of one who has.

It simply means that more valid solutions would likely come from a more diversified board that can sit down together with open minds and many different perspectives. They will also find that some issues and problems of one group are directly related to another. For instance, the fear of seniors regarding traffic problems, either the timing of stoplights, broken curbs, and disregard for the yellow pedestrian lines that plague us are also difficult for young parents. Whether we have to push a wheelchair or a child’s stroller, we often place our lives in peril with that first step on to a street.

Does a parent who wants to remain living in a home or a condo worry any less than a newly married child who wants to remain in our village, but cannot afford either our high price of homes or our rising taxes? Many sleepless nights are shared by both of them. Does a grandparent moving to Oak Park for the highly-rated schools for the children really want higher class sizes and dropped programs offered to their grandchildren–and be happy about paying for more and more referendums to get a lower and lower level of school? A truly intergenerational board would be the best answer for generational questions.

I believe that having walked in many shoes, as a learner, a teacher, a young parent, a grandparent and great-grandparent, an activist, and a volunteer all of my life, including my senior years–only 80 years old while my mother lived to be 105–I have the time, and I qualify for the job of intergenerational trustee. I pledge to you my time, energy, and experience if you vote for me on April 17.

Rose Meyer
New Leadership Party candidate

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