When you cast your ballot on April 4th for Village Trustee in Oak Park, two candidates rise above the rest. Dan Moroney and Deno Andrews offer a fresh perspective to local politics and promise to bring their business experience and in-depth knowledge of the Village to work for all citizens of Oak Park.
Both Andrews and Moroney were born and raised in Oak Park. The son of a local business owner, Andrews graduated from OPRF and received a business degree from DePaul University. After working as a consultant, he looked to his hometown for a new path. As the owner of Felony Franks, he has been able to give back to the community by offering former felons employment opportunities.
Like Andrews, Moroney has strong ties to the community. After graduating from OPRF and the University of Dayton, he volunteered for the Peace Corps before returning to Oak Park to run his real estate business, Moroney Homes, and raise his two children with his wife in the same town where he grew up as the youngest of six siblings.
As independents, Andrews and Moroney will serve the residents of Oak Park first and will fairly evaluate all decisions that come before the Board. As self-employed, local business owners, Moroney and Andrews are practiced in the skill of recognizing opportunities and making things happen with an eye towards advocating for the best outcome.
A key goal for the pair is to bring transparency to the Village to promote citizen involvement in local issues. Moroney and Andrews believe a well-informed public results in better community engagement between residents and governing bodies. By using cost-effective measures such as the Village website, Twitter and Facebook, they aim to make it easier for residents to engage. With clear, established rules in place for developers, they hope to level the playing field for those interested in making investments in the community.
Moroney and Andrews are uniquely positioned to take a long-term view of the Village. By using their first-hand knowledge of what has worked and what has failed in Oak Park over the decades, they approach the future of Oak Park with the understanding that the Board’s actions will impact the Village for years to come.
Andrews and Moroney share a similar approach to many of the issues facing Oak Park. On the issue of taxes, Andrews notes that rethinking the approach to property taxes is a motivating factor.
“Since 1999, we’ve seen our collective levy go up two and a half times the rate of inflation. That rate is unsustainable. With calculated measures, we can make that rate more predictable and lower the trajectory. I grew up in a middle class family, and it’s important that cost not drive out generational, racial and socio-economic diversity from Oak Park.”
Moroney agrees, noting that the high tax burden also affects landlords and rental properties as well as the ability of the Village to attract small businesses.
As a real estate professional who has rehabilitated and lived in homes throughout all of Oak Park’s diverse neighborhoods, Moroney believes the key to growth in Oak Park is investment in all areas of Oak Park, not just the downtown corridor. “The border streets and east side of the Village are ripe for development opportunities.”
For both Andrews and Moroney, investment is best made with a long-range, overall perspective. Recognizing that the major developments of today will shape the Village for generations to come, they emphasize the need to approach all development in the context of a long-range plan.
Moroney remarks, “Needs and values should drive growth, not solely maximum return on investment.”
At the end of the day, both candidates are motivated to create a better Oak Park for today and for the future. Andrews sums up his vision for the future, “Oak Park will look different when my kids are grown, but I want them to have the same feeling about their hometown that I do.”