I am writing to express my confidence in President Vicki Scaman’s decision to appoint Cory Wesley to the Oak Park Village Board.
Most of us will acknowledge that Oak Park is a complicated town, with passionate residents who have many different opinions. It is indeed not easy to serve as an elected official. Though it is difficult to subject yourself to the opinions of so many, I believe that Cory is poised to build consensus, and rise above criticism and politics in service of our community.
As chair of the Oak Park Economic Development Commission (OPEDC), he has worked to bring greater transparency to the commission. As a member of various citizen commissions, he has spent years serving our community in the background. It is fitting that he is now given the opportunity to serve as trustee.
Cory’s voice will represent many facets of Oak Park — advocating for racial equity based on his lived experience, while also focusing on maintaining economic vitality in our community.
Most importantly, he sees the relationship between seemingly disparate goals while others may not. He understands that a trustee must often balance competing concerns, not just engage in a binary analysis of any single issue. He does not rely on simply labeling people or their ideas but sees the complexities of making decisions for the good of the whole community.
In my opinion, Cory does not seek out controversy or conflict. Rather, he gathers information, listens, and reaches sound decisions after a thorough analysis. Agree or disagree, we can count on him to be thoughtful and decisive, all the while respectful of other opinions.
When I observe our Oak Park elected officials, I often think of Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, commonly known as “The Man in the Arena”: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
I urge residents to support Cory Wesley as he begins his role as trustee. I am confident he will prove that we are indeed fortunate to have him in our arena.