These are the statements of the Candidates for Village Trustee as submitted to the Park Forest Non-Partisan Committee. They appear here in alphabetical order as prepared by the candidates: Andrew Gladstone, Tiffani Graham, John Moore, and Joshua Travis.
My dad, a WWII GI, moved his family to Park Forest in 1951 in hope of raising his family in a community that welcomed everyone. He and his wife, Barbara, lived here until their deaths in 2005. I grew up in Park Forest, went through the school system, graduated from Rich East, married my wife Georgette who had moved to Park Forest in 1949 with her GI dad and mom, raised a family, served as an educator and dean at Crete-Monee High School, and continue to live a quality retirement here.
Like many families in Park Forest, Georgette and I started our life together in the Co-ops. I served as President on the Cedarwood board of directors. Later I had the opportunity to serve my community as village trustee.
One of the greatest rewards in teaching and being a dean is helping students achieve their very best to become productive members of society. Being a trustee enabled me to work for a better Park Forest in innovating a vision of creating a brighter future for our residents. Living in this community from toddler to senior, my B.A. from Northern Illinois University, my Masters in Education Administration from GSU, working with youth through coaching, being an educator and a dean, knowing the history of Park Forest, and making Park Forest my home my entire life give me the confidence to best serve the residents of Park Forest as a trustee.
I have served the Village of Park Forest for two three-year terms and have an uncompromising commitment to leadership and service. Because of the commitment I have to this community, I would like your support for a third term. I am proud to serve as Trustee Liaison to the Youth Commission and the Human Relations Commission. I served in volunteer leadership roles which include the Park Forest League of Women Voters, Tall Grass Arts Association, Debbie Martin’s Women’s Advisory Council; and Dr. Charles Gavin Foundation and past President of Southland Rotary. My goal is to continue supporting and participating with our team to revitalize our Park Forest neighborhoods. I will continue to speak up for all of Park Forest. To support the hidden gem which Park Forest is with the art exhibits, live theater, a wonderful library, and music venue. Work to maintain our independent source of clean drinking water, which is vital to our health. Continue working to obtain funding for our continued infrastructure improvements and Downtown revitalization. With the community and the Village Board working together, we can keep Park Forest a vibrant community to raise a family.
I am excited about the opportunity to run for Village Trustee. Since returning to Park Forest in 2014 to assist my parents, I have seen the Village’s potential despite its challenges. The Village Board’s decisions over the next four years can be the difference between our community prospering and deteriorating.
As a Trustee, I hope to work with my colleagues on the Village Board to cultivate economic development, seek solutions to solve our property tax crisis and fight to keep our community safe. I am a member of the Economic Development Advisory Group, which has allowed me to engage with other residents and work with Village staff. As a trustee, I will encourage residents to serve on the Village’s various boards and commissions. We must ensure that the Village Board remains supportive of our award-winning Village staff.
In 1974 my parents moved our family from Chicago to Park Forest so my brother, sister and I could attend better schools. I was fortunate to attend Indiana School, Huth Upper Grades Center in Matteson and graduate from Rich East. After graduating from the University of Dayton, I began my career as a public relations professional in the entertainment and hospitality industries, first as a publicist with John Iltis Associates and then as a public relations manager for Planet Hollywood International. I’ve also served as State Marketing Manager for the State of Illinois. I am an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where I teach communication courses. I am currently a local elected official’s political director, a self-employed marketing communication consultant and belong to the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
Non-Partisan local government is a tradition in Park Forest and I pledge to adhere to those principles. I look forward to using my lived and professional experience to deliver more for Park Forest.
“A vote for the future of Park Forest”
My name is Joshua Travis and I have lived, grown, and discovered all that Park Forest has to offer for over 25 years. I first got involved by joining the Youth Commission in 2019. Since then, I have partnered with leaders and residents to support Park Forest needs such as food drives, workforce development training, and advocating to keep our schools open and accessible for our youth. As we continue to rebuild– we must work with nonprofits and community leaders to regain our lost resources. The resources that made me a fighter and survivor.
I attended Forest Trail and Rich East before graduating from Illinois State with a degree in Anthropology and minors in Biological Sciences as well as Criminal Justice Sciences. I graduated from DePaul’s School of Public Service with a Master’s in Nonprofit Management. I am currently seeking a Doctorate degree from Governors State University focused on using data and evidence to implement community building strategies.
Decades of depopulation means higher property taxes, increasing bills, closing of vital programs, and higher crime. To overcome these challenges, the village must practice bold leadership through innovative partnerships and elevating our accomplishments by working with our neighbors, build the community by listening to residents and taking concerns seriously, and above all else – develop new resources and programs to replace what we have lost and keep the community safe and healthy.
If elected, my top priorities will be:
- Generating revenue from our natural resources to improve the quality of our roads and infrastructure.
- Expand the building department to offer resources and guidance to help residents meet code expectations before sending fines and court dates.
- Expand the neighborhood watch program and bring free surveillance equipment to each home throughout the village.