The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Landmark’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.
Name: Jill M. Mateo
Previous Political Experience: Appointed to Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission, 2014-present; Chairperson, 2017-present
Previous/Current Community Involvement: volunteer, Riverside Junior Woman’s Charity (RJWC), including president and treasurer, 2011-present; Riverside Arts Weekend (RAW), including president, treasurer, webmaster, social media director, 2013-2021; American Association of University Women – Riverside, IL Branch, including webmaster, social media director, 2012-2018; Riverside Community Caucus, including vice-chair, webmaster, 2010-present; Riverside Springs Ahead; Riverside Chamber of Commerce, representative for RAW, RJWC, 2017-2022; Frederick Law Olmsted Society, 2014-present; Audubon Important Bird Area Organizer: Riverside Des Plaines River Corridor, 2018-2019
Occupation: Professor of biology and psychology, University of Chicago
Education: B.S. in Psychology, Manhattan College; M.A. in Psychology. University of Georgia; Ph.D. in Biopsychology, University of Michigan; Postdoctoral scholar, Cornell University
1. Why are you running for the board of the Village of Riverside?
Members of the Village of Riverside Board of Trustees are entrusted with making important decisions on behalf of the residents. I believe I have the knowledge, dedication and analytic skills to be an effective representative for my neighbors. Since 2009, I have served our community in a number of ways, including charitable organizations and as a Planning & Zoning (PZC) commissioner and chairperson. I have also attended almost every village board meeting since 2009. As a result I am confident that my background, experience, institutional knowledge and skill sets will be an asset on the board. As a trustee, I want to continue to highlight the strengths of our natural areas, help address our building needs and find ways to enhance our Parks and Recreation Department.
2. What experience and perspectives would you bring to the position and how would they be valuable as an elected official?
As a scientist, I pay attention to details and propose ways to solve problems. As a professor, I find creative ways to interpret and communicate complex issues. Both skill sets have been important for me as a PZC commissioner, and would help me in the role of a trustee. As PZC chair, I ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, that we consider the evidence and ask questions, and reach consensus with mutual respect. My experience with village government and my work with many local organizations over the years provide me with an informed perspective on the issues facing Riverside. I have a record of collaboration, listening carefully, being open to new ideas and offering solutions.
3. What do you believe are some of the greatest challenges facing the village?
Revenue sources and sustainability. With a limited sales-tax base, Riverside has been and will have to continue to be creative in how capital plan projects are funded. The water tower repairs and the public safety and former youth center renovations are much needed, yet remain unfunded. In 2008, Riverside voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to have our village pursue green practices. We must continue to find ways to reduce our environmental impact in a changing climate. Riverside has been a leader in this effort, including our solar ordinance, green energy aggregation, sewer separation, the monarch project and permeable parking lots. The Des Plaines River Floodwall is an important next step to protect many properties that have flooded time and time again. With these challenges, the trustees must represent and be accountable to all residents of Riverside – homeowners and renters, newcomers and longtimers, seniors and young families, the have’s and have not’s.