Running for public office isn’t for everyone. The hardest part comes after you win. Vicki Scaman, the candidate I support for Village President didn’t come to her decision lightly. I know because we’ve talked about what it means to run in this present environment. I’m glad she had the foresight to run because, more than ever, we will need a village leader who is independent, highly capable and respected — and most of all, experienced in local government.

There are basically two kinds of candidates: One who runs on what they promise to do, one who runs on the strength of what they have done. Vicki is the latter.

Experience does matter. Past performance is generally an indicator of future performance. We need to know what a candidate can get done, how much we can trust the chances to be effective once in office. Commanding the bullhorn is not the same as having demonstrated and delivered meaningful outcomes.

You should know that throughout the campaign, Vicki has carried out her duties as village clerk, a full-time job, with the same level of integrity and professionalism that she always has. Numerous people have told me the many quiet ways that Vicki has assisted them over the years.

None of us can argue that Oak Park is grappling with issues that will determine its future livability: budget pressures, affordability, what true public safety means, climate change, racial justice, and, recently, a needed discussion on reparations.

When I think about what it means to be a public servant — and that’s what elected officials are — I remember these lines of a favorite Marge Piercy poem “To be of use”:

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again.

That’s Vicki, not seeking the limelight, but always acting for the common good, doing what is right and fair. Again and again. That’s why I urge you to put faith in experience, not slogans or promises, and cast your vote for Vicki Scaman.

Cassandra West, Oak Park

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