When I first heard that Valerie Lester would be running for Oak Park Township Trustee, it wasn’t surprising that she would be offering her talents and service in this way. She combines a genuine care for the community with financial acumen and fiscal responsibility; she has a solid track record of contributing her skills to community groups that promote inclusivity and work to offer a helping hand to those in need.

I first met Val some years ago when she moved to Oak Park and joined the Oak Park Friends Meeting (Quakers). Her social concerns became evident when she served as organizer of the PADS (Housing Forward) dinners for homeless people. She has also volunteered with the Oak Park Housing Center and was the Friends’ representative to the Community of Congregations. In the past five years, she has become more dedicated to providing services to senior citizens, working with groups that focus on building community, as well as personally providing the kinds of hands-on outreach and help that so many seniors could use. She is the one who delivers homemade soup to someone recovering from surgery, drives someone to their doctor appointment, and not only calls, but arranges for others to call an elderly shut-in. Her social concerns and actions show that she would be a good fit for the township, whose mission embodies precisely the types of community services that are such a priority for her.

Her strong business background has led her to serve as treasurer for the regional Quaker organization, Illinois Yearly Meeting, to which the local Friends meetings belong. She has made careful stewardship and wise use of funds important guiding principles and also demonstrated good negotiating skills backed up by a calm and steady temperament; I’ve seen her use these assets to help groups involved in knotty discussions make decisions that have enabled them to move forward productively.

Valerie Lester is a person of integrity who can help the township respond to the current and future needs and challenges created by the pandemic. I urge everyone to vote for her.

Adrian Fisher, Oak Park

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