Endorsement: Bankole, Prigge, Shahjahan for Hanover Park village board
Hanover Park Village President Rodney Craig understands how important it is for a local government's elected leaders to reflect the community it serves.
Given how diverse the community is, this is especially important in Hanover Park, and unlike some other suburban mayors, Craig does not wait for candidates from different backgrounds to simply appear on the ballot. He actively seeks them out and then looks for developmental opportunities on village committees.
Hanover Park has a diverse village board, and that has not happened by accident. The village's approach on this not only better serves all populations in town, but it also provides a model for other suburbs to follow.
Craig will be reelected in the April 6 election. His candidacy is unopposed. Also assured of election are Kristy Merrill, running unopposed for village clerk, and Liza Gutierrez, running unopposed for a 2-year term as trustee.
But there is a spirited race for three 4-year terms for trustee on the village board, with five well-qualified candidates competing for the positions.
Frankly, it is hard to choose between them. We wish all five could be elected.
Craig is running a slate of candidates for those positions -- incumbent Bob Prigge and village Development Commission members Tonya Frosheiser and Syed Hussaini. We think a lot of Craig and we like all of those candidates, but there are two impressive independents running as well who deserve strong consideration -- Trustee Sharmin Shahjahan and Yasmeen Bankole, outreach coordinator for Sen. Dick Durbin.
Our endorsements go to Prigge, Shahjahan and Bankole.
Prigge is a common sense trustee seeking his second term. He listens to his constituents and works well with people.
Shahjahan also is finishing her first term. She's positive, hardworking, expert in financial matters, active in the village, and she prides herself on her independence. It would be a shame if the community lost her voice on the board.
Like all of the candidates, Bankole offers solid credentials. In particular, she can help the village in collaborating with state and national governments. But in our opinion, what makes her stand out is the perspective she offers not just of people of color but also of younger adults in the community. Only 27, she sees needs and interests of residents who are not now reflected on the board.
In making these endorsements, we regret that there is not room also to endorse Frosheiser and Hussaini. Each is a strong candidate. If they do not win, we hope they continue to serve in other ways.