Simone Boutet, a sitting Oak Park village trustee, has dropped out of the village presidential race for a second time. In a statement posted on Facebook Jan. 16, Boutet announced her decision to step down again by quoting William Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “to thine own self be true.”
“While this is a deeply personal decision, I am also mindful of the potential outcomes of this race and ways that the vote could split to produce a result that a majority of the community does not support,” Boutet wrote.
With Boutet out of the running, the candidates for village president, sometimes known as mayor, of Oak Park are Trustee Dan Moroney, Village Clerk Vicki Scaman and Cate Readling, a local activist and former part-time park district employee. Scaman and Readling, like Boutet, fall on the progressive end of the political scale. Moroney is seen to be more conservative.
Boutet took the opportunity in her withdrawal announcement to publicly endorse Scaman for village president.
“I am also asking my supporters to support Vicki Scaman, the village president candidate most likely to reduce the polarity that plagues our national and local politics,” she wrote.
Wednesday Journal reached out to the three remaining candidates for comment but only Scaman was immediately available. Scaman told Wednesday Journal she is “honored” and “grateful” for Boutet’s endorsement.
“Simone’s love for Oak Park is evident in her dedicated and courageous service,” Scaman said. “I wish her all the best and have no doubt that she will continue to contribute in meaningful ways however she chooses to remain involved.”
Scaman said Boutet’s move is demonstrative of “service above self” and courage.
Boutet’s campaign has experienced something akin to politically based whiplash, as the candidate previously dropped out of the running Sept. 9 to start a new bed and breakfast venture in Washington state. Boutet reentered the race Sept. 22. She said then the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had inspired her to resume her campaign.
Boutet had her mind set on running for village president early in this cycle. She filed the necessary paperwork with the Illinois Board of Elections in 2019.
A first-term trustee, Boutet began working with the village of Oak Park in 2001 as assistant village attorney, later serving as acting village attorney. Boutet’s village board term expires in April, but she does not intend to step away from public service despite ending her mayoral campaign.
“I will start by using my 30 years’ of experience in law and local government to help others understand how government works and to advise others who serve or interact with government, law and administrative processes,” Boutet wrote in her Jan. 16 announcement.
Throughout her career serving the village of Oak Park, Boutet called her proudest accomplishment the recruitment of village board trustee candidates Ravi Parakkat, Lucia Robinson and Stephen Morales, whom she said were “a diverse team of compassionate, dedicated, critical thinkers who are ready to solve the major problems facing the village without unnecessary drama.”
“Please give them your vote,” Boutet wrote.