Oak Park village trustee Dan Moroney announced Sunday that he is entering the race for village president. As the race shapes up so far, Moroney will be competing against fellow board village board member Simone Boutet, Village Clerk Vicki Scaman and park district employee Cate Readling in the April 2021 election to take over the position from Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, who has not yet decided whether he will seek reelection.
“My campaign is rooted in my belief that Oak Park is an exemplary community that should recognize our shared commitment to maintaining a village that has provided a setting for all residents to thrive,” Moroney stated in his campaign press release.
His campaign will advance “a theme of common cause, common ground and common sense.” Elected as a village trustee in 2017, his term ends this April and he has been reticent about his 2021 plans prior to the announcement.
Moroney’s accomplishments as a first-term trustee, as the press release touts, include: decision-making rooted in common sense and pragmatism, keeping the tax levy increases below 3 percent, promoting practical sustainability initiatives and modestly scaled development projects.
The press release also cites Moroney’s track record regarding policing in Oak Park, stating that his first term has been marked by “community safety by supporting the police and understanding the need to address the four years of consecutive increases in crime” and “supporting village staff including the police, as they provide the core functions of municipal government.”
Moroney’s view of policing in Oak Park has led to quite a few clashes with fellow trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla, who has advocated for extensive reform, including sponsoring a resolution to defund the police department in August.
“I look forward to voting no on this resolution,” Moroney told the village board during the Aug. 25 meeting.
Moroney and Walker-Peddakotla got into a heated argument in September 2019 over racial profiling within the police department.
“They deserve our praise rather than a blanket statement that damns the whole department,” Moroney said to Walker-Peddakotla.
Moroney modified his stance on racial profiling in August of this year by requesting the removal of the police department’s “Guide to the Suspicious” from the village website. The guide was criticized for appearing to encourage residents to engage in racial profiling.
“Residents are calling the cops disproportionately on Black residents for actions that might be 100 percent within the law,” Moroney told Wednesday Journal following the guide’s removal.
Moroney stated in the press release that all voices must be heard, and all views respected to allow for true inclusion and tolerance in a community.
“We have fallen short of these ideals at the board table over the past two years and I want to work to reverse that trend, so that we can identify the best public policy for Oak Park,” Moroney said in the press release.
If elected village president, Moroney intends to keep tax levy increases to below 3 percent and ensure that police are “supported in reversing the trend of rising crime,” as well as to encourage economic development, according to the release.
Moroney has had conversations examining these issues, among others, with guests on his podcast, “Common Ground Oak Park.”