Boutet drops race for Oak Park village president

Starting small business in Washington State


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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

(Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Boutet is funding and starting a small business in Washington. She is not joining a family business in Washington.) 

Oak Park Trustee Simone Boutet said Wednesday that she is leaving the race for village president as she pursues an opportunity to start a small business based in rural Washington State. Boutet said in an interview with Wednesday Journal that she will serve out her term as a trustee and is not planning to leave her Oak Park home.

However, the requirements of the business mean that she will be spending weeks at a time in the northwest.

"I will be in the state of Washington a good deal of the time during the election season. I'll be back and forth," but cannot serve as village president, she said.

"I was not looking to change my life," she said but "two or three weeks ago" the business opportunity presented itself. Boutet declined to say the type of business she will be joining.

"It is sort of a joyful thought to return to private life and not have to explain my life to everyone," she said.

Boutet served for many years as the assistant village attorney for Oak Park. She also served briefly as the acting village attorney following the retirement of Ray Heise.

She ran for village trustee in 2017 and won convincingly.

"I've had a lot of support in the community. People know my interest in good government. They see I dedicate more time than other trustees and that I know exactly what I'm talking about. People trust me," said Boutet.

She said, "the hardest part is I'm disappointing a lot of people."

Boutet criticized the current village board and administration. "This board has worked very slow to make progress. We take too much time off. We are not fluid in communication on things like policing." She was also critical of the board for not being aggressive in creating a climate action plan though she said there has been recent progress.

And Boutet said the village staff was focused on "too much control and not enough grassroots democracy." She said the village needs to do a better job of engaging and listening to citizens.

Boutet said she was speculating but believes additional candidates will join the race for village president in her absence. "I think there will be more presidential candidates, that my leaving will create thoughts of other people stepping up."

Without Boutet in the race, the other current candidates for village president are Village Clerk Vicki Scaman and Cate Readling, a local activist.

Boutet did not rule out an eventual endorsement in the race but said, "I don't like to be against people."


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Reader Comments

8 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Masaru Takiguchi Law  

Posted: September 13th, 2020 4:41 PM

Two things learned today: the Wednesday Journal is now a non-profit corporation and two that Simone Boutet has gotten wonderful opportunity on the West Coast!

Galen Gockel  

Posted: September 11th, 2020 10:13 AM

Sad news. I was looking forward to working on behalf of Boutet's candidacy. A loss.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 10th, 2020 3:24 PM

Cate Readling told the WJ she saw running for village president as "an opportunity to hone my skills in navigating and negotiating this world ? Frankly, all of us with lived experience, have the experience to serve as village president." . . . No, they do not. . . My time in the military, and subsequent experiences throughout life taught me that there are two types of people who put on a uniform or assume an elected office - those who are looking to get something they don't have from the uniform or office, and those who already have something to bring the uniform or office. . . I don't want someone looking to "hone their skills" on the village board. I want someone who already possess the skills needed for the office. That clearly is not Ms. Readling, who hasn't even served on a deliberative board of any kind, let alone led one.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: September 10th, 2020 2:56 PM

At the moment, that leaves a contest between a far leftest and a presumed moderate. I hope things stay that way. Boutet and Scaman would have taken votes away from each other. Readling remains the on-the-cheap candidate by running as a Democrat, where only 25 signatures versus Scaman's 476. are required. Ask Don Harmon. The Democratic Party of Oak Park has not slated candidates at the Village level since the early Fifties, when Oak Park did not have a Village Manager system but a Mayoral one instead. Readling is doing a political hijacking of the Democratic brand.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: September 10th, 2020 7:57 AM

Simone, thank you for your service to our community.

Sarah Abboreno Corbin  

Posted: September 9th, 2020 9:16 PM

Simone wishing you the best with this endeavor!

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: September 9th, 2020 8:50 PM

I guess I will vote for Vicki Scaman.

Leonard Grossman  

Posted: September 9th, 2020 7:42 PM

So disappointing. She is a powerful voice for sanity in Oak Park government.

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