Oak Parkers on social media have read frequently about “two great women running for village president.” This ignores the candidates’ vastly different qualifications, skillsets, and approaches to community building.

I have asked both candidates tough questions on Facebook. Cate Readling responded honestly and thoughtfully in the public medium and reached out personally. She didn’t ignore my questions and listened intently before we arrived at consensus. This is the leadership we need, not more of the same.

But this isn’t about interactions with one constituent. I am endorsing Cate Readling based on …

Professional qualifications: Vicki Scaman’s position gives her limited clerical experience inside village government; Cate has been working tirelessly with governing entities to create more equitable and inclusive systems, starting with her work with Scouts for Equality through her work on the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Coalition to End Money Bond and more.

Lived experiences: Recently, a village trustee candidate endured a process where a committee speculated on personal situations instead of objectively considering his obvious residency. Vicki asked racially insensitive questions and repeatedly gave fellow committee members justification to slander a Black man’s character. As a woman of color, Cate is not ignorant of multi-generational living, and she certainly would not have been complicit in this ordeal.

Alignments: Cate has maintained her integrity by recruiting committee members for her campaign who reflect her truly progressive values. She engages in discussions with community members who disagree with her, and whenever she learns better, she does better, to paraphrase Maya Angelou.

Cate has an insider’s knowledge of our community, but as an outsider to the village board, she will not repeat their mistakes from the past four years. We need new yet qualified leadership at the top, and Cate Readling is the only woman for that job!

Asra Syed, Oak Park

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