Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles of mayoral candidates in the Northwest suburbs that will run in coming weeks.
If something breaks, Ted Lonis wants to help repair it.
“I’m sort of, by nature, a fix-it kind of person,” he said. “Bartlett needs a few fixings, in my opinion.”
Lonis is one of three candidates running for Bartlett village president this spring.
The 67-year-old was born in Chicago and lived in various parts of the city before moving to Wood Dale. He resided at the Dominion Condominiums for 10 years, and was elected president of the Dominion Plaza homeowners association for five terms.
In 2003, Lonis decided to run for a bigger office when he challenged Kenneth Johnson in the Wood Dale mayoral race. He lost and moved to Bartlett a few years later.
“Bartlett is a very warm type of community. Unfortunately, it’s split into like four or five communities,” he said. “I think Bartlett can come together as one large, strong community.”
After his move to Bartlett, Lonis became active with the DuPage County Democrats and the Wayne Township Democratic Party. Lonis said there was little involvement by residents in the Wayne Township Democratic Party at the time.
At one point, he said, the party made a mistake on paperwork and he was faced with a decision to either leave the group because he didn’t think they knew what they were doing, or get in and try to fix it.
Since then, Lonis has served as chairman of the party, and in that time he feels the structure has been improved and there have been positive contributions by members.
Bob Peickert, chairman of the Democratic Party of DuPage County, said Lonis has helped garner interest in the Democratic Party in Wayne Township by reaching out to people on his own.
“He’s kind of a hands-on person,” Peickert said. “He’s not one to simply delegate.”
He added that Lonis has a lot of energy and good ideas.
“I think he’s good at following up when there are projects to be done,” he said.
Even though Lonis is a Democrat, he says he is a centrist who likes to hear from both sides.
“I’m a middle-of-the-road guy,” he said. “I’m not extremist to either of the two sides. I want to make things work for who they’re supposed to work for, and they’re supposed to work for us.”
He feels, however, that political affiliations have significant influence on residents’ decisions.
“This is not a nonpartisan election,” he said. “This is about as partisan as any election.”
Outside of politics, Lonis said he spent many years being involved with the Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts. He also is a past member of the Lions Club.
Because he has plans to retire in May from his job in the finance department of Illinois Tool Works, Lonis said he would be able to really dedicate himself to the position of village president.
“I learned last time I ran for mayor (in Wood Dale) I wouldn’t have had the time,” he said. “I’d be stressed to pieces trying to take care of the many things that we have to do in life. But now I would have the time.”
Lonis said the skills he gained while running his own business, along with his experience working with a variety of people in the motion picture, airline and trucking industries, would help him on the board.
“I think this brings a lot more to my understanding,” he said.
While he can be tolerant of people with different opinions and styles, Lonis said he is not tolerant when he feels things haven’t been done right.
“If you screw up, you’re going to know about it,” he said.
Lonis added while there is a concept that people can be motivated, he doesn’t think it is possible.
“They either have something inside of them saying ‘I want to do this,’ or they don’t,” he said. “You can only bring out what’s there.”
If elected, Lonis plans to be at village hall two to three days a week, which he said is much more than recent village presidents.
“I plan on being here. I plan on working,” he said. “I don’t care about the money.”
Lonis added he would remain in the position for only one term, during which he hopes to “raise some questions and help the village where I live move forward.”
“I’m not a person who believes in staying in a job for 20 years,” he said.
Ÿ To see all our coverage of the Bartlett village president race, including candidate bios, go to https://www.dailyherald.com/news/politics/election/race/Bartlett-Village-President/.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.