It’s a stark contrast from the 2015 municipal election when three sitting members of the Oak Park Board of Trustees ran unopposed on a slate established by the Village Manager Association.

Next year’s election, set for April 4, has seven trustee candidates running for three open seats on the board of trustees – only two of them incumbents – and five candidates for village clerk. Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb is running unopposed in the election for village president.

In this election, the VMA was unable to fill a full slate of candidates, endorsing only two trustee candidates – incumbents Peter Barber and Glenn Brewer – and first-time village clerk candidate Lori Malinski. The VMA, which exists primarily to vet and slate candidates for public office, did not endorse a candidate for village president for the first time in the organization’s history.

Meanwhile, the race for the Oak Park Library Board has an unprecedented number of candidates, with 10 people announcing their runs for four open seats. Only two of the candidates for library board are incumbents.

While Dec. 19 marked the deadline to file and get a space on the ballot, would-be elected officials still can file as a write-in candidate by Feb. 2, 2017.

Though many of the candidates for Oak Park trustee and village clerk have already publicly announced their intention to run over the last couple of months, the Monday filing deadline revealed a few last-minute surprises.

Six of the seven candidates for village trustee already had announced their plans to run, but Emily N. Masalski was a new name on the candidate list. Masalski, a lawyer with the Chicago-based law firm Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP, said in a telephone interview that she is a working mom who is running on a platform of “having diverse voices on the village board.”

“I want to make Oak Park vibrant and strong and make sure that we retain our local businesses,” she said. 

Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy specializes in “energy and infrastructure regulation, environmental and natural resources law, health and safety, and litigation.” Masalski’s focus is on environmental law, advising clients on “a wide range of environmental issues, including compliance and permitting under various environmental statutes including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.”

Monday’s filing deadline also saw the introduction of two new candidates for village clerk: Victoria Scaman and Mas Takiguchi. 

Scaman is program coordinator for Oak Park Township’s Strategic Prevention Framework — Partnerships for Success program, an initiative of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that aims to curb underage drinking and youth substance abuse. She also has served since 2011 as chairman of the Oak Park Liquor Control Review Board, which reviews liquor license applications in the village and provides recommendations to Oak Park’s Liquor Commissioner.

Takiguchi is an attorney who runs his own law practice, Takiguchi & Associates, Attorneys, out of Oak Brook, he confirmed in a phone interview. He has served as chairman of the Oak Park Board of Fire and Police Commissioners as well as the Liquor Control Review Commission.

Takiguchi, Scaman and Malinksi also face clerk candidates James Robinson-Parran, a professional musician, and Elia Gallegos, who has served the last eight years as the Village of Oak Park’s coordinator for the Community Development Block Grant program.

In the village trustee race, Masalski and incumbents Barber and Brewer face restaurateur Deno Andrews, Oak Park Township Trustee James Taglia, former village attorney Simone Boutet and real estate developer Dan Moroney. 

The 10 candidates in the library trustee race include incumbents Bruce Samuels and Matt Fruth, and newcomers Sarah Glavin, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Brandon Spurlock, Maria Meachum, Christian William Lee Harris, Garrison Johnson, Miles Jackson and Adam Olson.

Two candidates filed for the two open seats on the Park District of Oak Park Board of Trustees – incumbents David Wick and Sandy Lentz.


This story has been changed to correct the date by which anyone wishing to be a write-in candidate in the 2017 Consolidated Election must file paperwork with the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The deadline is Feb. 2, 2017.

Join the discussion on social media!