I’m excited to vote for Cate Readling as Village President because I know she brings the leadership our community needs to align with its values. We stand for inclusion, equity, and belonging here, although we have work to do to achieve it. We don’t need more giveaways of tax dollars to developers. We need investment in our future.

Cate’s vision would allow us to start generating additional revenue by focusing on the growth of our community — the people and businesses who are here already. Oak Park’s small businesses can prosper and thrive with an economic gardening strategy.

Oak Park deserves a participatory budgeting process. Right now there’s not enough power over the budget in the hands of the community. We need more transparency and accountability. Cate’s vision is to work with the community to create more civic engagement and disperse the powers currently held by the trustees deeper into the hands of our people.

Oak Park stands at a critical time in planning our future. We are at a real risk of property values going down or staying flat while taxes go up. Our community’s real estate strategy was built upon the concept of diversity, but it never got far enough. Diversity is just existing, side by side. It doesn’t mean collaborating or thriving. That’s what starts to happen when we start achieving more inclusion and equity. Those create a thriving ecosystem — one where everyone can truly grow together.

Cate is the leader who can lead us through the difficult work toward achieving the next step of Oak Park’s values — and in ways that allow us to overcome our difficult financial challenges and stimulate our local economy. Her style of leadership builds more civic engagement and collaboration in our community, which is exactly what we need to build a healthier community that works better for everyone.

You’ll get to experience a piece of that if you join any of her upcoming policy discussions. In an uncertain future, Cate is the bold choice forward for Oak Park.

I hope you’ll join me in voting for her as Village President.

Aaron McManus, Oak Park

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