It was late 2009 and we were planning our relocation due to a new job opportunity. Cate had been visiting neighborhoods and villages in and around the Chicago area and was midway through her tour of Oak Park when she called. “I’ve found the place for us!” she said. “It’s called Oak Park and you’ll love it.”
Thus our journey in Oak Park began. Our family had lived in four states over a five-year period, and had settled into seven different houses due to my work. It wasn’t easy moving our family that often, but I never worried about Cate and the constant changes. Every time we were set up in a new location, Cate would get involved. She quickly built professional and personal relationships within the community and, after taking time to educate herself, worked to be an instrument of change.
I saw this again when we settled in Oak Park.
I was very involved in Scouting and am proud to be an Eagle Scout. Scouting teaches leadership and values — values that are very important to both Cate and me. After our twins completed their first year of Cub Scouts, we became aware of an arcane policy within the Boy Scouts of America that forbid openly gay Scouts and leaders. Cate was infuriated that an influential organization serving youth could still hold such ridiculous and discriminatory beliefs.
We talked about this at length and decided that the opportunity to be an instrument of change would be from within the organization and not from without. Cate became a registered leader and then later co-founded a local Scouts for Equality chapter in Oak Park and an intentionally inclusive Club Pack at First United Church of Oak Park.
Through her actions, tremendous support from others in the community, and a nationwide effort, the Boy Scouts of America eliminated the policy. It was a change that Cate was committed to and saw through to the end.
That’s what she does. She has been at village meetings, knows the current board members, been active in village elections, and understands the inner workings of Oak Park. She has been a voice in our community for years and has brought both awareness and solutions to many situations. I’ve seen her apply compassion and love to leadership in our home, in our church, in Scouts and in her work. I know that wherever she is, relationships will be fostered and ideas will be born. We need this creative and inclusive approach throughout our community.
Please join me in voting for Cate Readling for Village President.
Chip Readling, Oak Park