The stormy weather didn’t put a damper on the election night festivities for the three winners of the Oak Park village trustee race. Trustee Cory Wesley came in first, receiving 25.11% of votes with newcomer Brian Straw right behind him with 24.6%. Trustee Susan Buchanan hung on to her seat, winning a second term with 22.63%. While all precincts had been counted late Tuesday the results remain unofficial.
“It’s officially celebration time,” Wesley told Wednesday Journal.
Wesley was all smiles while celebrating among friends, family and supporters at Kettlestrings Tavern. This is his first election win. He ran in 2019 but lost the seat to Arti Walker-Peddakotla by a razor-thin margin of 52 votes. Wesley was appointed to the board in October to serve the remainder of Walker-Peddakotla’s term after she resigned.
Straw, who watched votes roll in at Spilt Milk, is a first-time candidate who lacked the name recognition of the other candidates. He thanked Oak Park voters for their support, while sharing his eagerness to get to work.
“I am incredibly grateful for the trust that Oak Park voters have put in me,” he said. “I am excited to join Cory and Susan on the village board to build an Oak Park for the next generation.”
Wednesday Journal also reached out to Buchanan regarding her reelection win. She told the paper earlier in the evening that, if she lost her seat, she intended to spend more time studying renewable energy. Buchanan, whose election night party was at Citrine, ran on a platform of increasing environmental sustainability efforts.
Unlike Buchanan, however, Trustee Jim Taglia was unable to hang on to his spot on the village board. He came in in fourth place with 14.6% of votes. His campaign efforts dipped in the weeks leading up to the election after he suffered a back injury. Taglia, who spent election night at home, was quick to share his support for the winning candidates, stating he had “high hopes” for their leadership.
“Congratulations to Cory, Brian and Susan on their victories,” he said. “They ran great campaigns and I wish them the best.”
After spending six years as a village trustee and another six years as a township trustee, Taglia told Wednesday Journal he looks forward to spending more time with his friends and family.
A request for comment was also made to former village trustee Simone Boutet, who came in fifth with 13.04% of votes. She spent the evening at home with family and friends.
While sharing her gratitude to all the candidates for their passion and love for Oak Park, Village President Vicki Scaman offered her congratulations to the three winning candidates.
“Cory, Brian and Susan will serve all residents thoughtfully and will listen to their concerns,” she said. “I believe this is a win for Oak Park and the collective goals we will champion together.”