Oak Park Village Trustee Simone Boutet has officially reentered the race for village president, backtracking on her earlier decision to drop out of the running to pursue a business opportunity in Washington state.

In a video posted to Facebook late Tuesday, Sept. 22, Boutet announced her change of mind, saying, “I have a surprise for you all – guess what! I’m back in the race.”

Community support after her announcement she would not run greatly influenced her decision, according to the short video.  

“You guys have overwhelmed me with votes of confidence, compliments on how trustworthy you think I am and calls for me to get back in the race,” Boutet said.

Boutet cited the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as her inspiration to resume campaigning.

“I could literally live a life of sunshine and babies, but upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, what I realized is her message – live your values until the day you die,” Boutet said.

 In the video, the trustee and former assistant village attorney said she was “worried” about the Oak Park community, its future and a litany of issues it faces.

“We have to deal with racial equity, we have to deal with environmental challenges, we have to deal with the COVID economic recovery in our business districts,” Boutet said. 

Gaining the public’s trust in its government through “transparency,” “inclusion,” “accountability” and “doing things in the public’s interest” was what is most important to her, she said.

“With those values in mind, I am happy to say I’m back,” Boutet said.

Boutet rounded out her announcement asking for the Oak Park community’s help and assistance to get her elected village president in the April 2021 race.

“I need you to volunteer for me; I need donations; I need you to work with me; I need emotional support; I need your ideas,” she said. 

In a follow up interview with Wednesday Journal, Boutet acknowledged her decision may come as a shock as she announced her intentions to drop out of the running a mere two weeks ago.

“You have the right to go, ‘What the heck is going on?'” Boutet said.

Boutet’s plan was to open a bed and breakfast with her son and stepdaughter in Washington State’s San Juan Islands archipelago. Her original intention was to have a large role in its opening and operation. Boutet is now only an investor in the new hospitality venture.

In her earlier plan, Boutet said she would maintain her home in Oak Park but travel to Washington State for extended periods of time to work on the business.

She reiterated that the support and encouragement she received from people in the community, as well as the work of Bader Ginsburg, as the reasons behind her reconsideration. 

Boutet said she believes she is the best person to take over as Oak Park’s village president and mayor. 

“I have the feeling that I am the most competent because of all the history I have,” said Boutet, who previously served for 12 years as assistant village attorney and for two as interim village attorney.

She is joined in the race by local activist Cate Readling and Village Clerk Vicki Scaman, who began collecting signatures the night Boutet released her Facebook video.

Boutet’s announcement, she said, has been met with great enthusiasm by Oak Park citizens.

“You know, people are ecstatic,” she said. “People really want me to do this.”

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