Trustee hopefuls test the waters for 2019

Slate forming in Brookfield to challenge PEP Party next spring

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By Jackie Glosniak

Contributing Reporter

Though the spring 2019 village elections are still distant three people have begun meeting with members of the community to spark interest and support for what appears to be a slate of three candidates for village trustee. 

On Aug. 1, in the backyard patio space at Laura Atwood Studio Beads & Trading Co., 9142 Broadway Ave., Mark Rogers, Tom Galbraith and Josh Jones spoke to a crowd of around 20 Brookfielders interested in hearing more about who they are and what they hope to do to bring a change in Brookfield village government. 

"Maybe you're here because you're a little sick and tired of what's been happening and being told one thing and something else is happening, or you want something different to happen in Brookfield," Rogers said.

The three men reportedly agreed to join forces on July 4, following several discussions and a shared interest in changing Brookfield's political landscape, which has been dominated by the PEP Party since they regained complete control of the village board in 2005.

"We feel that there are just some fundamental changes that need to be done," Rogers told the crowd, drawn by a flyer that circulated around town and online across social media. "Things need to improve, basically."

Rogers, 57, is not new to Brookfield politics. 

A former member and president of the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 school board, he first ran for village trustee in 2015 as part of a slate backed by former Brookfield President Bill Russ, but finished in fourth place. 

After that unsuccessful bid, he announced plans to run for trustee as an independent in April 2017 election, but never ended up formally filing to do so. 

Rogers told the crowd he got to know the 48-year-old Galbraith three years ago when he first ran for trustee, and has known Jones, 35, for several years as a past colleague at a bank in Chicago. 

While new to the Brookfield political scene, Galbraith recently made his voice heard at village meetings regarding a village curb cut law that would have eliminated their driveways, angering several homeowners. Following the complaints of Galbraith and other residents, the village backed off.

As for Jones, in November of 2010 he announced he would be running for trustee as an independent, but was tossed off the ballot after his nominating petitions were challenged.

Rogers spent the most time speaking at the meeting, sharing sentiments on everything from what he considered the shortcomings of the PEP Party. 

Showing printouts from the PEP Party's website and newspaper articles, citing PEP's claims of success, Rogers' main message was that PEP is "promising, but not delivering." 

Rogers posed questions to the audience, asking if during the PEP Party's reign, if people had really seen drastic improvements with radical economic development in town, fulfilled a promise for a senior transportation program and or implemented a successful flood mitigation program.

"The PEP Party is no longer adhering to many points from its platform," he said.

Rogers also posed questions asking residents to consider the outward appearance of Brookfield, asking attendees whether Brookfield was truly healthy financially and if elected officials cared about the appearance of business districts and long-vacant storefronts. 

"Dynamic leaders is what makes people say, 'I want to come to this town, because they get it,'" Jones said about the lack of vibrant business in Brookfield. "I'm sick of all of us having to run in the black and [the village] doesn't have to. … Give other people an opportunity, who know what it's like to run a profitable business, and to put money away for the future." 

Rogers also argued that things don't change much because, during board meetings, it elected officials don't engage in detailed discussions. 

"The issue is that if you have one party that is totally in control over everything, there's not going to be a lot of change," Rogers said. "When I go to a village board meeting, I expect trustees to dialogue."

Galbraith agreed.

"Every time I've gone to a meeting, everything seems predetermined," he said. "There's very little dialogue."

Rogers also called for attitude changes from Brookfield employees, an oft-cited past complaint. 

"Respect culture needs to start at the village hall," he said. 

The three men have not rolled out a party name nor have they created a political committee, according to the Illinois Board of Elections. But, they appear to be planning to circulate nominating petitions in September. 

Rogers said his problem is not with the PEP Party individuals personally, just on a political level. 

"Nobody is questioning that [the PEP Party politicians] are nice people," he said. "They're just not getting the job done."

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