Arlington Heights Village President Tom Hayes announced his first appointment on Tuesday morning, nominating Robin LaBedz to fill his former trustee seat and finish the two years remaining on his term.
"In a community of many dedicated volunteers, Robin stands out as the best qualified candidate to help lead our village forward with steady hands in the months and years to come," said Hayes in a statement on Tuesday.
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LaBedz, 57, moved to Arlington Heights in 1977 and raised two children here with her husband, Gary. Professionally, she is a management analyst for Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor's Chicago office.
In the community, she got involved early on with her homeowners association and local League of Women Voters, before former Village President Bill Maki appointed her to the Housing Commission in 1989.
She served there for four years and was elected to a six-year term on the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Board in 1993. She worked for two years on the Downtown Master Plan Task Force and was appointed to the plan commission in 2007.
"In all of these roles, Robin has demonstrated a commitment to listening to resident concerns, thoroughly analyzing the issues before her, and then voting according to what she believes is best for the entire community," Hayes said.
LaBedz said that growing up, she was always interested in politics and thought she'd like the be the first woman president someday. Now, she's happy to be one of two women on the village board.
"It's really important to have women on the board," LaBedz said. "I always approach things as a person and resident first, but men and women have different experiences and different outlooks on things. We're half the world. I've always been a supporter of women in politics."
Hayes added that LaBedz will bring "much needed gender diversity" to the nine-member board where Carol Blackwood is the only other female trustee.
LaBedz said she would like to run for her own term on the board once she completes Hayes' term in 2015.
Hayes approached LaBedz last week. He said she was his first choice, though he had a list of people to consider from the village's 18 boards and commissions.
"It was a really easy decision to make, hopefully all the decisions going forward will be that easy," he said Tuesday.
Hayes said he is confident the village board will approve the appointment and that LaBedz will be sworn in at the meeting on Monday, May 20.
"I'm very excited, it's definitely an honor to serve the people of Arlington Heights," LaBedz said. "I will take each situation as it comes, learn as much as I can and listen to residents. I have no agenda, I just love Arlington Heights and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."