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Park Forest, IL 60466
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Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: April 29, 2015

Newly elected, re-elected Village Board members sworn-in


Re-elected Board members John A. Ostenburg, Mae Brandon, and Georgia O'Neill, along with newcomer Tiffani Graham, were sworn-in to their posts Tuesday at Village Hall.

Close to 100 people filled the Board room to congratulate those beginning their terms, and to thank outgoing Board member Gary Kopycinski for his service.

The Honorable Raymond Funderburk, Circuit Judge for Cook County, assisted with swearing-in each Board member.

The following are the campaign statements prepared by each Board member to be sworn-in.

Tiffani Graham
My name is Tiffani Graham, I have lived in Park Forest for more than 30 years. I am a Rich East High School graduate and I loved growing up here. I think that all children should have the opportunity to grow up in a village like Park Forest. I felt safe and I always had something to do. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am a firm believer in that phrase because I feel I was raised not only by my parents, but by a village as well; the Village of Park Forest! I am deeply invested in the community, as a member of the Park Forest Youth Commission, the Rotary Club, raising money for the restoration of the Wetlands Observation deck, and also a part of the Park Forest Sustainability Committee. One of the things that I am very proud as a Park Forest resident that the Park Forest Youth Commission brought back the carnival last June. It was wildly successful and is making a comeback this May. My desire is to give back to the community by helping to steer our young people in the right direction. I would like to see our community supporting our youth in making them feel like they are citizens that matter. I want to work to bring much needed business opportunities to the village, maintaining our cultural entities and solving our housing issues of vacant and deteriorating homes. I am the best candidate for the job because I am young and motivated to bring changes to the community.

Georgia O'Neill
Georgia O’Neill has served over eight years as a Park Forest Trustee and is seeking reelection to that position. As a 45 year resident of Park Forest, Georgia and her deceased husband Marty raised three children in the village. Georgia has an extensive history with Park Forest, having served as Executive Director for six years on the Park Forest Chamber of Commerce and manager of two regional chambers that served Park Forest – a total of 22 years of chamber of commerce management. As a result of that long and dedicated career, Georgia is “tuned in” to business needs. She will continue to apply her skills and understanding to the Village’s economic development efforts. Georgia served as Liaison to the Park Forest Economic Development Advisory Group for nearly all of her eight years as Trustee. Georgia also served as Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Centre of Park Forest for three years. In that position, she was instrumental in engendering support and goodwill for the Centre among business, government and community representatives. As a Trustee, those relationships will continue to benefit the community. In the 1990’s, Georgia served on the Villages’ Strategic Planning Task Force and the Economic Development Advisory Group. Georgia is a member of the Park Forest Historic Society’s Hall of Fame. In 1996, the Park Forest Jaycees recognized her as Citizen of the Year. Upon receiving the award, she said “There are many blessings to be enjoyed while living in Park Forest, but people are the most valuable blessing! Park Forest people are loyal, proud, dedicated, intelligent and caring. I’m convinced that there is no other place with residents possessing all those qualities!” Georgia O’Neill has served Park Forest for 45 years and with your support and your vote, she will continue to serve Park Forest!

Mae Brandon
I am proud to have served as your village trustee for the last two terms. This is a Village that I love. I am committed to not only embracing traditions that have made Park Forest nationally recognized, but also meeting the challenges that we currently face. As your trustee, I have played a major role in ensuring that Park Forest confronts its challenges. We have weathered this difficult economic climate, while many of our surrounding communities, with far more resources, have not fared as well. Thanks to the Board’s efforts in strategic planning and aggressive implementation, we now see improved infrastructure, new businesses, including the return of a grocery store to Park Forest, upgraded housing stock and partnerships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. We are creating comprehensive plans to revitalize our parks and expand programs for youth. Our work is far from done. As your trustee, I am committed to meeting the challenges of these unpredictable economic times in creative and exciting ways. Our initiative for sustainability has received widespread interest. New sources of outside funding have been identified, which means getting more for less. So far, this funding has resulted in repaving roads such as Orchard Drive, upgrading water mains, and enhancing police and fire services to ensure the safety of our residents. With your support, I will work tirelessly to expand and strengthen programs which enhance the quality of life of our citizens. I am a champion for Park Forest. I am known as the trustee who constantly seeks your ideas and solutions to problems we may face. Working together brings strength to our efforts. With your trust in me and your vote, I can continue this journey to build a better Park Forest, a community in which we can, indeed, Live, Grow and Discover.

John Ostenburg
John Ostenburg has served the residents of Park Forest as a Village Trustee, as a State Representative, and as Mayor. During his 16-year tenure as mayor, John Ostenburg has led the Village in obtaining millions of dollars – over one three-year period, nearly $30 million – in grants and other funding for improvements to roads and other infrastructure. Mayor Ostenburg sees one of his roles as “door opener” for Village staff to use its expertise to obtain federal, state, county, and other funding for important projects. With 25 years in elected posts – as trustee, mayor, and state representative – he has contacts with key players at national, state and local levels. Nationally, he serves on two National League of Cities subgroups: the Community & Economic Development Committee and the First-Tier Suburbs Council; at the state level, on the Illinois Municipal League’s Land Acquisitions Committee; regionally, on the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Executive Board, as co-chairperson of the Environment Committee and member of the Housing & Community Development Committee; and locally on the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association Executive Board and member of the Legislative Committee. That experience is invaluable! “My involvement with these bodies and my government experience are major assets in getting requests for funding and other assistance heard. We have excellent staff members, but their work is made easier when I can help cut through the bureaucracy.” Mayor Ostenburg said years of planning finally are paying off in attracting new business to Park Forest. “We realized long ago that we must be strategic in attracting businesses,” he said. “It doesn’t benefit the community to have businesses that don’t succeed.” He noted Dollar General, County Squire Foods, the Sapphire Room, and Dunagain’s Irish Pub, as examples of successful new businesses in Park Forest.

View the final election results
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