I have been arguing with myself about whether to send this email. Last summer I was reaching out to people I knew to run for local office, and I have been delighted with the many choices we have available in this election — possibly more than ever before and certainly more than any election since I moved to Oak Park over 40 years ago.

Local elections matter, and those you elect are your neighbors, more accessible than any other level of government. They affect your daily life in tangible ways and have, at some important points in the past, helped to point Oak Park in a more inclusive direction.  

Over the past few years I have noticed increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of local government. This election is an important moment to make a positive change in direction, as voters did at the state and national level last fall.

After talking with many of the candidates for local office over the past few months, I support the “Reclaim Oak Park” candidates: Tim Thomas, Arti Walker-Peddakotla, and Christian Harris. These candidates bring new and refreshing perspectives to the election and are not afraid to speak the truth rather than making empty promises as some prior candidates did. The candidates I support are honest and open about making government responsive to the needs and concerns of all of our residents, not just the well-connected. They address the root problem of high property taxes, rather than making empty promises about “cutting taxes.”

In the past few days, Tim and Arti actually took the time to go to Springfield to lobby for the Fair Tax, which would go a long way toward addressing state budget problems and could make a real impact on our property taxes by funding schools at the levels they did in past decades.

After serving eight years with as village clerk through some very tough financial times, I know that neither the village nor the schools alone can “cut taxes.” The state cuts to education funding over the past several decades (now worst in the nation) are the source of our tax burden. Oak Parkers know that good schools are not only good for our kids but how we maintain our property values — and we voted over the years to keep supporting our schools despite these cuts.

For these reasons and others, I invite you to join me in supporting Tim, Arti and Christian when you vote for village trustees.

Teresa Powell

Former village clerk

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