How wonderful to have two women running for Village President! This is an exciting moment for our community. We are on the cusp of making real, tangible change with who is seated at the board table, how decisions are made and how funding is prioritized. There are important discussions coming up: How to address the affordable housing crisis in Oak Park? How to stem the flow of families of color leaving our community? How to reimage our approach to combating climate change beyond incremental, small projects? These are discussions that the village has had in the past, small steps toward progress have been made, but that is not enough.

Too often, we lean into the thought that those who lead at the board table must have institutional knowledge and experience in government so they can effectively “get the job done.”

I do not agree with this perspective.

Our entire village staff possesses institutional knowledge and has years of village government experience. This institutional knowledge and experience often stifle innovative thinking and change, limiting the progress that we could have achieved. We need leadership at the table who will not be slowed by bureaucratic thinking. We need leadership who knows our community’s needs, can approach those needs with innovative solutions and will not be deterred by the perceived limitations of our government institution. We need someone who will think big and push village staff to move beyond business-as-usual.

Cate Readling is the person for this job. She has relentlessly fought for improving equity in Oak Park, advocating for those who are most marginalized. She is innovative with her approach to our pressing issues and she is unencumbered by entrenched limitations that government experience often brings.

Cate’s leadership and bold vision for our community is the change needed for Oak Park to become a community that is truly welcoming to all, that cultivates and fosters diversity rather than giving it lip-service, that prioritizes sustainability and becomes a community that is a leader among other municipalities.

On April 6, vote Cate Readling for village president.

Jenna Holzberg, Oak Park

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