Don’t expect any huge surprises when you cast your ballot this April. The candidates for two of Oak Park’s top political parties in April’s election are dishing up déjà vu in the upcoming village election.

The Village Citizens Alliance picked its slate of candidates last Sunday, and the list includes multiple people who have run in local elections before.

Gary Schwab is at the top of the slate. The current VCA party president, Schwab, who unsuccessfully ran for village trustee in 2007, will be running against current President David Pope, who is vying for his second term.

Schwab was also formerly president of the VMA-when Pope first ran for trustee in 2003. He separated from the group after that election.

Kathryn Jonas, an arborist and member of the Oak Park Forestry Commission, will run for trustee along with Julie Samuels, who has long been involved in the community, serving on the Energy and Environment Commission from 1985-92, as well as the Park District Infrastructure Study Committee in 2002, and involvement in forming several neighborhood groups.

Samuels also ran for lieutenant governor on the Green Party ticket in 2006.

The third trustee candidate is a less familiar face, John Franklin, currently serving his second term on the Citizen Involvement Commission.

Sharon Patchak-Layman, a current member of the District 200 Board of Education, is the other name on the slate. She will vie for village clerk, a position Sandra Sokol is leaving in April after serving for 16 years. Layman previously served two terms on the District 97 board. She ran unsuccessfully for the village clerk position in 2005 with the New Leadership Party.

Layman was elected to the Dist. 200 board in 2007 and her term ends in 2011.

The VCA tentatively plans to run as the It Takes a Village slate, but first, they have to make sure it doesn’t infringe on any copyrights.

“I don’t think it lends itself to any embarrassing or hilarious initials,” Schwab said.

The VCA has yet to decide exactly what issues its slate will focus on. But in the past the candidates have been involved with issues such as development, preservation, forestry, sustainability, fiscal responsibility, and the relationship between volunteer citizen commissions and the village board, he said.

The Village Manager Association announced its slate in November. Candidates include current President David Pope, and current trustees Colette Lueck and John Hedges. Two new faces round out the slate: Glenn Brewer, a lawyer, will run for the other trustee position and Teresa Powell, a retired Dominican University manager, will run for clerk.

Greg Marsey, who ran with the New Leadership Party four years ago, currently holds the other trustee position. Marsey has considered running for village president or clerk in April’s election. He said he’s not interested in serving another term as trustee.

On Monday, Marsey said he’s still undecided whether he’ll run in the upcoming election. The NLP is also undecided on its slate. Marsey said he’ll make a decision before the seven-day period when candidates must file petitions, which runs from Jan. 19-26, according to Village Clerk Sandra Sokol.


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