In 2019, Cory Wesley came within 52 votes of being elected to the position of Oak Park Village Board trustee. Last week, it was announced that Village Board President Vicki Scaman is appointing Wesley to succeed Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla, who resigned from the village board on August 18.

While we are unlikely to agree with Wesley on every issue — and he will not fill the same role as Trustee Walker-Peddakotla on the village board — we are confident he will make an excellent trustee. Wesley has several key qualities in particular that recommend him for the role. He has a demonstrated spirit of public service and has repeatedly shown a willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints and re-evaluate his own positions.

Since losing the 2019 election, he has invested himself deeply in serving our community. He currently serves as chairman of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, co-president of the Southeast Oak Park Community Organization, board member of Oak Leyden Developmental Services and the Oak Park Pro Bono Network, and commissioner on the village’s Civic Information Systems Commission. This record of public service demonstrates his continuing commitment to the village of Oak Park.

One of the rarest qualities in elected officials is a willingness to acknowledge that they are not a subject-matter expert on every issue. Given the wide range of issues confronting the Oak Park Village Board, a willingness to seek out and consider the opinions of experts is particularly important. Wesley has repeatedly demonstrated this rare characteristic, in conversations both public and private. He is able to both hold firmly to his values and consider additional facts and arguments. Most remarkably, he is willing to change his mind where appropriate. His willingness to consider other viewpoints will serve him and our community well.

While we expect to disagree on specific issues with Wesley from time to time, we know that when it happens, he will be willing to hear from us — and other community members — and give real consideration to our views.

Juanta Griffin, Brian Straw, Tim Thomas & Deborah Wess
Oak Park

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