Ex-Huntley trustee Fender planning for life after politics
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Now that Pam Fender is out of the public eye, she's eager to become a regular person.
Fender, a Huntley trustee for eight years and Grafton Township's one-time administrator, says she's focused on building a new life — one that will likely be outside of Huntley.
"I just want to be a private citizen and just figure out my future," said Fender, 59.
Her goal is to move closer to Geneva to be near her daughter, but she needs to secure a full-time job, first.
At the moment, Fender paints houses and she serves up coffee as a barista at the Huntley Starbucks. Because she's looking for something more permanent, she's had to throw much of her volunteer work to the side.
"I need to be working now, I need to be paying attention to what Pam Fender's pocketbook is," she said.
Fender has been a mainstay in local politics for the past nine years.
In Huntley, she served on the zoning board of appeals for a year, before running for village trustee in 2005. She remained on the board for eight years and chose not to seek another term in office.
She instead ran set her sights on the Grafton Township supervisor post.
After beating incumbent supervisor Linda Moore in the Republican primary, Fender faced off against James Kearns in the consolidated election, and lost by 66 votes. She's sure many voters thought she was part of the financial problem in Grafton Township. The board hired Fender to work as the township administrator, a move a judge later said was invalid.
She admits she's still smarting from the loss.
"People have blamed me for a lot of her (Moore's) issues," Fender said. "I tried to do what I thought was right and I was fighting. Life goes on, I've got to make it better."
Her biggest accomplishments in Huntley are simple. She's most proud of helping to establish the Huntley Fall Fest and of the board finally approving a ban on leaf burning to keep the air clean.
Village President Chuck Sass acknowledged he and Fender sometimes clashed, but said he could always count on her to keep it real.
"You always knew where Pam stood, OK? She spoke her mind, which is fine, even though we don't agree all the time, but she put forth 110 percent for the village and we're going to miss her," Sass said.
As Fender looks around Huntley, she's excited the village was able to secure a Starbucks, a new hospital and a full-interchange on Route 47 at the Jane Addams Tollway while she was on the board.
"We made this growth happen in a positive way and now we have one of the best places to raise a family and to live and even to end your life because being a senior in our town is a big deal," Fender said. "So it's a great place to live for people for all ages and I think that's something you can look back on and say, 'Yeah that's pretty cool.'"
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