Tina Tyson-Dunne: Candidate profile, DuPage County Forest Preserve Board-District 2

Democrat Tina Tyson-Dunne of Lombard and Republican Karen Kelly of Downers Grove are vying for an open District 2 seat on the DuPage County Forest Preserve District board of commissioners in the Nov. 3 general election.

Tyson-Dunne is chief of staff for state Rep. Deb Conroy, District 46. She was elected chair of the York Township Democratic Organization. She is a volunteer with the DuPage Forest Preserve and a certified Master Naturalist-University of Illinois Extension. She is a member of the Villa Park Garden Club, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Conservation Foundation, and Sustain DuPage.

The District 2 seat currently is held by Republican Jeff Redick, who isn't running.

To explore her campaign website, visit

District 2 takes in all or parts of Lombard, Villa Park, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Oak Brook, Westmont, Hinsdale, Addison, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Naperville, Lisle and Woodridge.

The Daily Herald asked the candidates a series of questions. Here are Tyson-Dunne's responses.

Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?

A: My passion to protect and preserve the public lands we hold has always been a part of who I am.

Most of my knowledge of the environment has been by action and self-education. I love spending time out in nature, love doing what I can to protect animals of all species and will always be a champion to follow the science and research when having to make difficult decisions.

My role as a commissioner would be to make those tough decisions, but I would fight every time for the protection and restoration of the flora and fauna of our preserves.

Q: If you are an incumbent, describe your two biggest contributions to the board. If you are a non-incumbent, describe two ways you would contribute to the board.

A: As a Certified Master Naturalist, I will be a strong advocate to ensure we continue to acquire, preserve, protect and restore the natural resources in DuPage County Forest Preserves while providing opportunities for people to connect with nature.

I will also look to actively find ways to honor one of our six principles: diversity and inclusion. We are at such an important time where social, economic and environmental justice are recognized as being entwined.

Embracing the diversity in our community is essential to connect everyone to the programs and services our forest preserves offer and help connect more of our community with nature.

Q: What role should the forest preserve play in preserving historic buildings on its land?

A: In District 2, we have a great example of a historical property with the Mayslake Peabody Estate. Great efforts have gone into the continued restoration of the main building, much of which has been done by volunteers and funded by donors and grants.

I think it is important the forest preserve helps to ensure the structure is safe and secure, but I appreciate that much of the restoration has happened through the passion of our community.

Q: How would you rate the job the commission is doing to develop existing forest preserves and make them accessible to residents? How would you approach things differently?

A: The biggest concern I hear from residents is trail improvements and more access by way of connecting our preserves.

I have been supporting the progress of the East Branch DuPage River Trail and look forward to ensuring that project moves ahead to help connect residents in District 2 and 4 via the Prairie Path and Great Western Trail to a number of our preservers as well as the Morton Arboretum and look forward to future stages of that trail's expansion.

Q: What is the most important issue facing the forest preserves in your district and how should it be addressed?

A: The dam removal at Fullersburg Woods near the historic Graue Mill. I have been following the research around this project and support that it is the right way forward for many reasons.

Water quality is foremost, as stated above an eventual solution was needed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. I would much rather see nature be a larger component in cleaning our waterways than filtration plants.

There is a lot of local sentiment attached to the Graue Mill dam, which I respect, but I think people will be pleasantly surprised at how this project will respect both the history of Graue Mill and restoration of the area to be as near to what it would have been naturally without a dam.

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