2019 CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

These statements have been provided by each individual candidate and have been published unedited by The Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government in Park Forest as a service to all candidates and to the voters
of Park Forest. The statements are the sole responsibility of the candidates.


The Non-Partisan Committee is not responsible for the views expressed by the candidates nor the factual content of their statements.

Candidates for Mayor

Mae Brandon
Experience Matters. I have served as your Village Trustee for the past 15 years, and hold the position of Mayor Pro Tem. As Mayor Pro Tem, I preside over Village Board meetings and fill in for the Mayor in his absence. I know the job, because I have done the job.
As Village Trustee, I have worked alongside fellow board members to develop policies to enhance our community. My role as Trustee Liaison to various Village volunteer boards and commissions has provided me the opportunity to interact with citizens who are concerned about issues related to our youth, seniors, veterans, environment, improved human relations as well as those who focus to assure that our Village engages in careful and sensible planning.
Since moving to Park Forest in 1966, my husband and I have raised our children and been involved in our community. We have been active volunteers in school projects, civic organizations and church relations. As an occupational therapist, I have been active in my professional organizations.
I have been selected to serve in various leadership roles, locally, statewide and nationally.
As advocate for Park Forest, I constantly seek ideas and programs which may benefit our Village. These efforts resulted in the upgrade of our electrical infrastructure, the development of our Crime Free Housing Ordinance and Neighbor Meeting program.
I am committed to an aggressive agenda of:

  • Continuing to obtain grants and other outside funding;

  • Developing strategies to recruit new businesses and development;

  • Addressing housing concerns and means to improve our neighborhoods;

  • Assuring that our Village continues to be a safe and beautiful place for our families;

  • Working with regional organizations to fight disinvestment in our community, as well as the Southland.

As your Mayor, I will hit the ground running to move Park Forest forward.

JeRome Brown
Park Forest Grace Church
Marital Status: Married
Children: 1
Occupation: Job Developer/Speaker/Life Coach
JeRome has been a powerful community servant for
more than 2 decades.
· PF Village Trustee
· PF Kiwanis member/Chairman for Key Club
· PF Environment Commission
· PF Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
· PF Toastmaster President
· PF Rotary Club member/Program Director
· PF Basketball Coach
· “Bears On Court” Player/raised money for the Firefighter Association of
America
· “Chicago Caps” Community Liaison
· Speaker/Trainer community job fair
JeRome is a former EPS for CAPs, non for profit employment agency that provides employment training/job placement services. CAPs has proven successful techniques in working with prospective employees to address the workforce needs of business through strategic hiring. One of CAPs areas of
expertise is helping employers access indirect government assisted programs to maximize their payroll budget.
JeRome’s influential career includes management roles with several fortunate 500 companies. Citibank, United Insurance and Smith/Barney. His duties included sales, insurance, financial planning, training and development. JeRome’s aspiration is to bridge his life, educational and career expertise to the Village of Park Forest. Assisting in economic development, infrastructure, education and safety. Furthermore, he believes in motivating diverse communities to grow and produce new resources.
JeRome recently established and is CEO of “LOTS, Inc.” LOTS does many things including mentoring ages 5-25 with life lessons, group sessions, professional occupational speakers and job placement. Basketball is a tool used for development, discipline, leadership, team work and creative thinking.
Honors
· Alderman Carrie Austin – Supporting the Community Award
· Mayor Richard Daley – Ideas & Commitment to the Community
· Cook County Board President John Stroger – Job/Community Resource
Fair
· Chicago Public School – Motivational & Key Note Speaker Gradation
Speaker
· Lamont Brown – Certificate of Appreciation “Pursing the Dream with the Browns” at Prairie State
JeRome’s goal, foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment
of mankind

Renee Hawthorne
Experience is a great teacher and a motivator to create change. As a 40-year resident, who single handedly raised 3 children and 2 grandchildren in this great town, I would like to introduce myself as a candidate for Mayor. I have matriculated through the walls of higher learning via, Park Forest- Chicago Heights School District 163, Rich East High School, Prairie State College, and Governors State University. As a member of State Representative, Anthony
Deluca’s Education committee, Youth Commissioner, and Rich East Booster Club member, my experiences and community connections are diversified and have longevity.
I have been viably employed with school district 163 for the past 17 years, climbing the ranks from a  paraprofessional to Project Manager.
Through this venue, I brought awareness to the positive interactions between law enforcement and the students in the community, more specifically the Tim Jones initiative (#timjones, #204) and I returned the PAAC program to Michelle Obama school. As the Project Manager with over a half-million-dollar budget, I oversee various projects within the 5 district schools, I’ve supervised over a hundred staff members, community partners and students. Additionally, as an educator, I have volunteered my time and talent in the community. Google me, my volunteer efforts can be traced back to the early 2000’s closing educational achievement gaps and meeting community child care safety needs in and out of school.
I have presented at numerous conferences in Springfield, Illinois state ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Conference as well as various other local and out of state conferences.
I am on a mission to bring V.I.P’s (Vision, Integrity, and Power in the partnership) back to the community! It is through my life journey that my investment in this community drives and guides my passion and
vision for Park Forest.

Jonathan Vanderbilt
Jonathan Vanderbilt is a fourth generation Park Forest  resident, he attended Huth and Rich East; his wife attended Talala Elementary, Crete-Monee Middle and High School. They have both lived in Bloom, Monee and Rich Township, their sons are fifth generation Park Foresters. Jonathan Graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelor in History, minoring in Political Science while continuing for his Masters in Career and Technical Education at Purdue.
Jonathan has worked on the Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee, Recreation and Parks Commission, Environmental Committee, Community Garden Commission; where he was able to start one of the
first community gardens on Algonquin Street working with neighbors and youth, Kiwanis Club Member, Nonpartisan Committee Board Member, Area B Board Member, South Suburban Sustainable Living Board Member, Rich East Booster Club Board Member. Furthermore, he has served at his church, Sauk Trail Baptist Temple, in various roles from Deacon, Awana Leader, Director of JV, Bus Ministry and Youth Group.
In his first year as a Trustee he has become the Chief Marketing Officer for Park Forest. He was able to get the Village Board to agree to start an Education Commission which was instrumental in saving Talala Elementary.
Jonathan has a passion to see our town’s youth succeed and as Mayor would create a Summer Employment Program. Depopulation in the Village has become a major contribution to many of the village’s problems including high property taxes and increasing water bills. When
elected Mayor I will work to solve these problems by implementing a Neighborhood Redevelopment Initiative Incentivizing commercial and residential developers, Organize a volunteer code enforcement program,
Sell excess village water to offset rising infrastructure costs, along with other creative solutions to revitalize Park Forest and share my passion for our community together.
Please visit Jonathan Vanderbilt for Mayor of Park Forest on Facebook

Candidates for Village Trustee

Tiffani Graham
This April, you will be asked to vote for a candidate for Trustee of the Village of Park Forest. I currently hold that seat and ask you to re-elect me.
My name is Tiffani Graham. I've been a resident of Park Forest for 38 years and am quite familiar with the issues that the Village faces. I grew up here and went through Park Forest school Districts 162 and 227. As a Rich East graduate, it holds a special place in my heart and I plan to continue the fight to keep all of our schools open. I have over 10 years of leadership experience, having served on the following boards:

President of the Park Forest Rotary Club (2012-2014),
member of Tall Grass Arts Association Board, Vice President of the LWVPFA(2016-2018), Membership Chair LWVPFA (currently), member of the Park Forest Youth Commission and Sustainability Committee, member
of the R.E.A.L.(Race, Equity and Leadership) Steering Committee and most recently I became the President and Co-Founder of the South-Land Rotary Club.
Since being elected in 2015, I have actively worked with our board to improve the livability of our community. It is important for our village to be transparent, and I am a strong believer in transparency. The community should be informed of how their tax money is being spent. My family
has owned a Computer company in Park Forest for over 32 years. I have been the Vice President running the day to day operations since 2013.
With that being said I realize the importance of business in Park Forest. On Election Day please cast your vote to re-elect Tiffani Graham, candidate for Trustee for the Village of Park Forest. I look forward to continuing to work with the board and our local legislators to make Park Forest
a strong community.

Candyce Herron
The people in our community are in dire need of strong dedication, competent leadership, care and humility from law abiding residents. My name is Candyce Herron. I have been a law-abiding citizen of Park Forest for over 20 years and aim to be the best Trustee yet. Over the years, I have had the privilege to reside in Park Forest and benefit from that which our village has offered.
I have worked closely with our local school administration as PTO President, to ensure excellence for our students. With much ambition, I mustered up the courage, to steer down an avenue towards the educational field. As a graceful learner, an opportunity was granted for me to contribute to the world of education beginning in Special Education for two years. Shortly thereafter, I served in the ATF union as a Building Representative for the Teachers’ Federation of Park Forest. I furthered my career teaching high school nation builders Physics and Chemistry Science.
All this while, I was maintaining a steady position as the leading Night Auditor for a reputable company in hospitality for five consecutive years.
Having a vision without an execution is a hallucination. Therefore, I believe that a current and culturally in-tuned voice is needed to restructure our community in a new direction. With ongoing exposure and experience
being chauffeured by amazing support from Park Forest citizens, I intend to lead and advocate for our community, from infants to elders. I have every intention to change the world with Park Forest as the positive catalyst. Thank you, citizens of Park Forest. I am honored for the opportunity to be your next Trustee and the NEW voice for our community.
Remember, that we cannot spell SUCCESS without U!!!

Joseph Woods

A career in public service and a lifetime of community engagement has prepared me to serve as Village Trustee. I served three administrations for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, advocating for the rights of consumers, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, veterans, and victims of crime—as well as chaired the Diversity Training Committee and the Process Improvement Committee. I co-chaired successful campaigns, such as the We Care Role Model Program, sponsored by the Chicago Board of Education—to decrease the student drop-out rate. I am
presently serving as Library Board Trustee for the Park Forest Library. It is an honor to work alongside such committed and civic-minded leaders.
Most recently, I am a graduate of the Park Forest Civic Leadership Academy. I am a humble recipient of Illinois Humanities Service Award, the Florence Cunningham Poet Laureate Award for Park Forest, the Park Forest
Neighborhood Hero Award, the Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Award, the Illinois Emerging Writers Award, and the James Joyce Society Award.
As Trustee, I will work to enact legislation and establish policy that achieves a sustainable budget, protects our environment, promotes ethical government, and ensures that Park Forest remain a vibrant, livable community for the residents of the Village.
More personally, this Village has re-ignited in me a profound sense of community. For it has granted me and my family the gifts afforded only by a community so proud of its history—and so concerned about its future, that it seeks to re-define and re-invent itself. As we have heard, there is an “old” Park Forest (so fondly spoken of) and a “new” Park Forest. I believe it is imperative that we realize a new vision . . . by which we come to the awareness that the new and the old can be not a contradiction.

Candidates for Library Trustee

Marcus Hampton

Hi my name is Marcus Hampton and I am honored to be a candidate for the Park Forest Library Board of Trustees April 2nd, 2019 election. I have always been a supporter of the Library Association and an advocate reader. In our fast-paced society where it seems we never really have enough time in our day-to-day lives to do what we want or need I want to make our library more flexible for you and by doing so freeing up more of your time to take care of other aspects of your lives. But trying to set up a delivery service for the card-carrying members of the Park Forest Public Library. To have books checked out and delivered to your door and or picked up from them upon request. To help our library become more accessible to our youth ,elderly ,disabled, and our citizens as a whole. As well as build and create connections between various types of libraries on State and National levels. I will seek out our counterparts to exchange ideas on an individual basis. As well as through professional organizations to share resources to help our library stay more up-to-date with the latest reads and information as possible. I understand the individual voice we have in our communities and organizations. Collectively this voice is strong and effective. Whether you are planning storytime, teaching information literacy, or conducting research, the work we do is vital to an informed and literate Society. If elected I will make time to listen to your concerns and ideas for our library. And I will be your voice as we work together to advocate for our professions, our institutions,

Keith Supler
The Park Forest Library has been a constant in my life, from a young child into adulthood. Learning to navigate the card catalogs, and picking out my first few books I realized the wonder of reading and the excitement it brought. After the last election, I was graciously given the opportunity to serve as a Library Board Trustee; and it has been a privilege to serve for these last two years.
Being a part of the Park Forest Community is no stranger to me. I have had the honor to service on the EEOC board (3 years), 
The Fair Housing Board (2 years), Parks and Recreation Board (3years) and an officer in the Non-Partisan Committee(3 years).
My wife Michelle and I have lived in the Area J cooperative for 24 years with our daughter Madeline.
Now, once again, I ask the citizens of Park Forest for their support for seeking a full term as a Park Forest Library Board Trustee, and in return I will bring integrity, honesty and the love of reading to the position of Library Trustee.

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