Through the years, I have quietly paid attention to the work being done by our village trustees. Aside from being involved in the Welcoming Village Resolution and Affordable Housing, I’ve been a silent observer who tries to stay, whenever possible, knowledgeable about the work going on in our village.

During these years of trying to stay informed, the one person who has stood out the most is Patty Henek, even though I have found common ground with many of the trustees, including our current president. But more than anyone, I have seen Patty ask the tough questions, not take the easiest path with her votes, push for more transparency, and always be willing to do the work behind her words and votes. I truly believe she’s in public office and running for president because she wants better for our village.

River Forest has come a long way and I’m proud of what we have accomplished. I truly applaud all trustees, including Cathy Adduci, for much of this progress. But it’s not time to congratulate ourselves. We have a lot of work to do in educating the community on why affordable housing is so important and a benefit to the village. Then we need to actually do the work to make sure RF meets and hopefully exceeds the 10% state mandate. So far, we haven’t done that work successfully.

We also need to make sure both our partnership with Maywood and our work toward diversity, equity and inclusion are truly impactful, not just a vote or slogan to make us feel better about ourselves.

Additionally, we need more transparency with decisions and appointments to various volunteer commissions, boards, and committees. We want to draw from the best people who have the right experience and expertise. And the entire board, not just the president, needs to be part of this process. Simultaneously, we need to ensure that the board is always open and honest with their intentions for each and every subcommittee.

I’m confident that Patty will work to guarantee full transparency at all levels, and will push these, and all important issues forward as I’ve seen her do consistently through the years. She’s incredibly diligent and will undoubtedly work hard for the people of River Forest.

Jennifer Kelly, River Forest

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