Relocating to take a new job in 1990, I settled in Oak Park. I knew little about its “progressive” history. But it seemed like a good place to live for a few years, as I had been moving every few years for work. Those few years have spanned to almost 30.

Something kept me here. It was the quality of life, the intellectual stimulation I found among the residents here, the activism that never lets up, the belief by many that they can get something worthwhile accomplished. Everyone here has talents, interests and the kinds of unique energies that also energize me. And I believe we all want Oak Park to be a good place to call home.

What does that mean? Schools that are excellent and equitable. Neighborhoods that are peaceful. Neighbors who are kind and affable. Public officials we can trust to make sound, fair, well-considered, transparent, unbiased decisions. We get that by electing candidates whom we believe exemplify the values that matter to us.

I want someone who thinks with an open mind, knows how to assess the many sides of an issue, can tease out the nuances of data, and centers people at the heart of every matter. The candidate for village trustee who embodies those traits best for me is Susan Buchanan.

A family doctor and environmentalist, Buchanan will bring strong credentials and skills to a board that has no shortage of “business people.” She also will bring something else a good trustee should possess: listening skills.

She’s smart and also smart enough to know that she can also still learn something new. These past few months, she has called on many Oak Parkers to hear what they have to say about housing, business, taxes, development, equity and inclusion, parking — and all those other topics we never tire of discussing, or complaining about. She has learned that Oak Parkers are complicated, conflicted, caring and sometimes uncompromising in their views. And she still wants the job.

I believe she will be an excellent trustee. And something else about her that earns my support: she cares deeply about our environment and wants Oak Park to be a real leader in reducing its negative impacts on our planet. To paraphrase what a young climate activist said recently, “Taxes [fill in your own Oak Park gripe] won’t matter if the Earth is uninhabitable in 20 years.” That’s real, folks.

Perspective matters. I believe Susan Buchanan will keep Oak Park’s priorities in the proper perspective.

In the April 2 election, I ask you to cast your vote for Susan Buchanan for village trustee. 

Cassandra West

Oak Park

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