Brookfield voters will have plenty of choices when they head to the polls in early 2019 to choose three people to serve as village trustees.
On Dec. 4, the Brookfield Community Party filed paperwork to create a political committee in support of three candidates – Mark Rogers, Joshua Jones and Tom Galbraith.
The trio is gathering signatures on nominating petitions that need to be filed between Dec. 10 and 17 in order to get on the ballot for the April 2, 2019 Consolidated Election. The slate will face off against a slate from the PEP Party – Brian Conroy, David LeClere and Katie Kaluzny – whose candidates announced their intentions to run back in October.
The PEP Party has maintained a hold on every elected position in Brookfield – from president to trustee to clerk – since 2005. PEP’s candidates filed nominating petitions on Dec. 10.
Rogers said the Brookfield Community Party will file its petitions sometime this week.
“We’re going to focus on what we can do for the village,” said Rogers, who in the past has served on the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 board and made an unsuccessful run for village trustee in 2015.
A certified financial planner who specializes in retirement planning for labor union members, Rogers said the slate’s campaign will remain “positive and focused on our vision for the town.”
“We want to help residents and businesses grow and make the town better,” he said in a phone interview with the Landmark.
Rogers, 57, said the slate is in the process of putting together a platform, but the party has started connecting with people on its new Facebook page. The party has also reserved a website address, though it’s not active yet.
The last time Rogers ran in 2015, he lost winning a seat by about 265 votes, coming in fourth in a six-person race, behind LeClere. Rogers ran alongside two others as part of a slate that had the backing of Roger’s next door neighbor and former Brookfield Bill Russ, who was chairman of the slate’s political committee.
That connection to Russ, who was voted out of office in 2005 after one term as president, was used against Rogers by the PEP Party during the campaign. That political committee, the Citizens Action Party, has since folded.
This time around, said Rogers, the slate is running independently. The chair of the Brookfield Community Party is Rebecca Galbraith, according to the committee’s statement of organization on file with the Illinois Board of Elections. Rogers is listed as the committee’s treasurer.
“The connection to my next-door neighbor was heavily discussed by PEP [in 2015],” said Rogers. “They’re not going to be able to do that this time around.”
Jones has thrown his hat into the political ring once before, filing nominating petitions in 2010 to run for trustee in 2011, but his petitions were disqualified following a challenge by a PEP supporter.
A mortgage broker, Jones and his wife also run a charity called the JM Foundation, which holds events and raises money to aid low-income residents of Brookfield.
The 48-year-old Galbraith, who is new to village politics, said his interest in village politics was piqued in early 2018 when the village sought to remove a curb cut from the front of his property in order to eliminate driveways that didn’t lead to proper parking areas.
Galbraith and other neighbors protested and the village backed off.
“I figured it was time when they were screwing around with the driveways,” said Galbraith.
“I’m also concerned with the revolving door of employees coming in and out,” he added, referring to a parade of departures in early 2018, including the village manager, the village planner, public works director, both recreation department staffers and the retirement of the fire chief.
“I think a little mix of different voices might be a good thing,” Galbraith said.
Asked if he was at all apprehensive about stepping into the public spotlight, Galbraith said that he was a little bit nervous, but added, “I have nothing to hide. I’m pretty much an open book when I talk to people. But it is a big step.”