RB Landmark sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The candidates’ replies are as shown as they were received by the Landmark For more on a candidate, click their name or photo.
1. Why are you running for the board of the Village of Riverside?
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Riverside as a Village Trustee for the last four years. During that time, we have:
- Opened the door to a modern and lucrative revenue stream: cannabis
- Created business districts that build resources to spur Harlem Avenue
development and invest in beautification.
- Prioritized measures to address impacts of climate change.
- Dedicated resources to expand and enhance park district infrastructure
- Taken steps to improve and enhance the Quincy business corridor.
- Leveraged new assets to develop the local economy.
I’ve also enjoyed working individually with people around the village to problem-solve when help is needed. But there is still plenty of work to be done. We have only scratched the surface in addressing stormwater and flood mitigation issues. We must identify and plan for future community sustainability needs. And significant economic development opportunities are on the horizon. We must prepare for that growth while taking steps to minimize community and resident impact.
I have been on the Village Board for almost 4 years, and would like to serve a second term. I enjoy serving my community. Public service to the village in which I grew up is a great honor and privilege.
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 an 18-year resident of the village, I have a long history of working in the community. I have a drive for public service and a keen sense of how local government decisions can affect the lives of residents and families.
I am familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of village infrastructure and assets and have supported efforts to offset the impacts of climate change around the village.
I prioritize public safety and the need to equip Riverside police and firefighters with the resources they need to keep us safe while ensuring their own safety. I also understand local business needs and have supported efforts to support them, including facade improvement grants, outdoor seating allowances, fee waivers, and increased parking space for employees.
Lastly, I carry a sense of compassion for village residents and prioritize equity in decision-making. I am always open to creating new possibilities and working with others to achieve them.
I have experience and institutional knowledge gained as a current trustee. If elected, I can provide continuity on the board. Prior to my role as Trustee, I have attended most village board meetings in person since 2009, as well as numerous commission meetings. As a result, I have significant and important insight into municipal government.
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?
Climate change is a significant threat. We are being challenged to quickly address the increase in stormwater and flooding and implement strategies to prevent damage to homes and other village assets. Resident feedback indicates flood mitigation is a primary concern.
Another challenge is the fight for revenue and seizing upon every opportunity to promote economic development in Riverside. The Board has taken several steps to create an inviting environment for new business development,
including key property acquisition. We can expect to see some significant positive changes to the business landscape in the next couple of years.
Financing aging infrastructure improvements also continues to be a challenge. We are constantly seeking grant opportunities to offset certain costs. Without the revenue generators other municipalities enjoy, we will continue to seek creative financial solutions to address infrastructure needs.
Finding balance is always a challenge. Balancing the budget with limited resources and making allocations for obligations and future planning, constantly improving infrastructure and retaining staff talent while preserving the historical identity that makes us unique is a constant struggle for the board.
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.