I’ve been a Democrat all my life, since I first registered as a teenager in Florida. In 1980 I was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden. I’ve continued to support Democratic candidates at all levels, except in municipal elections. There’s a tradition here of running as independents which is almost as old as I am.

The two major political parties have low signature requirements for petitions and are listed “first” on the ballot. This has allowed them to dominate most elections nationally. 

This was true in Oak Park until the early 1950s when a local group of concerned citizens organized to throw out corrupt partisan politicians at village hall. They realized that things would not change unless they ran candidates who were not beholden to party politics but committed to serving the public. 

For the past 68 years, candidates have continued this tradition. Independent slates and parties must get 600+ signatures while “partisan” candidates need 50. And the Democrat or Republican is guaranteed to be listed “first” on the ballot, ahead of any independent.

Many Oak Parkers have a real fear of a takeover by outside forces and look to our local elected officials for loyalty to the local community ahead of the expediency of taking the “easy way” for petitions and ballot position.

I will be voting for those who, even in this most challenging year, reached out to the whole community in a safe way for petition signatures rather than relying on a small group of supporters. Three of the candidates who initially chose to run for Village President got the hundreds of signatures; one did not. The one who chose the easy way will be rewarded with the first position on the ballot. 

I want the people I support to go the extra mile, to find a way to get the job done even in the face of adversity we haven’t seen in over 100 years. That’s why I will be voting for Vicki Scaman for Village President.

Teresa Powell, Former Village Clerk

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