I have said before that we are in an unprecedented time, and that goes for this Village Trustee election cycle as well — candidates have campaigned almost entirely online, no incumbents ran for office, and inflammatory issues inundated us weekly. I wanted to reflect on what I have learned from the campaign and how it makes me a better trustee for you to elect on April 6.
Through this campaign, I have learned how bright the future of Oak Park can be because of two things — you and the all the great people who have been Oak Parkers before us. I hope to do justice to you and them.
You are among the so many dedicated villagers in Oak Park. I hear your dedication echoed in the calls to address equity, food insecurity, parking, affordability, and so many other issues. Your neighbors are powering organizations like Housing Forward, Beyond Hunger, Thrive Counseling Center, and many more throughout the community that impact people every day. But you and others recognize that Oak Parkers set a high bar for how we address marginalized communities. As trustees, we need to stretch to meet that bar. If we set stretch goals of engaging marginalized communities, we can make innovation happen. I welcome the chance to innovate with you and take heart in the wealth of dedication we have in the village to push higher.
In the effort to push higher, we should also applaud the strides of those who came before us and made Oak Park a unique place among municipalities and Chicagoland communities. Oak Park is special because it is one of the most consistently integrated communities around Chicago. But things that are special are often fragile and require nurturing to be successful over the long term. So we should take this time to value the work of pioneers like Bobby Raymond, like Percy Julian, and so many others who have made Oak Park stand out. It is their legacies that I plan to keep in mind as the world pushes and pulls at our 4.7-square-mile village.
Your voice, and the inspiration of those who came before us, are at the foundation of my plans: improving diversity and equity, promoting business recovery and innovation, and reimagining development, our role in climate change, and community safety. I provided visions to cap property tax levy increases at 3% consistently, which will attract businesses and residents to Oak Park. I have suggested how our community policing model should change over the next four years. I have asked that the Oak Park board use the sustainability fund for its intended purpose.
If elected on April 6 to be trustee, I hope to fill the role that will help take us to a brighter future for you, for your families, and for those who came before us.