Three running for Schaumburg mayor; Larson 'undecided'
Political newcomers Nafees Rahman and Sunil Shah have joined longtime Schaumburg Trustee Tom Dailly as declared candidates in the April 2019 race for village mayor, but 31-year incumbent Al Larson said he remains undecided about pursuing a ninth term.
For now, Larson said he's focused on completing his current term.
"If I announced I wasn't going to be mayor, I'd be an afterthought," he said.
Rahman, who has been working as deputy director of accounting revenue in Secretary of State Jesse White's office since April 2017, said he's been inspired by White's approach to public service.
"I blame him," Rahman laughed. "I see how dedicated he is to Illinois. I want to do the same."
Rahman said he was a member of a large, education-oriented family that emigrated from Pakistan in 1986. He has been a resident of Schaumburg since 1997, even while traveling extensively as a CEO for out-of-state companies.
"My kids wouldn't let me move," he said.
While he believes Larson did a good job earlier in his tenure, Rahman said he wants to use his own business experience to find a way to attract Fortune 500 and Fortune 200 businesses to Schaumburg and rebate some of residents' property taxes.
Because of his previous role as a CEO, he thinks the mayor's office is a better fit for his first elected office than trustee, he said.
"If there's a good leader who can lead, it will make a difference," he said.
Rahman also hopes to recruit some fellow candidates to run for the three open trustee positions next spring and make village government more representative of Schaumburg's diverse ethnic makeup.
"There is no diversity in city hall," he said.
Shah, who works as an insurance agent in Schaumburg, has been a resident for more than 20 years and, with his wife, raised two sons there. He emigrated from Mumbai, India, in the late 1990s.
Taxation and quality of life are areas where Shah said Schaumburg could benefit from new leadership. He also believes he's reached a time in his life when he can be more involved.
"I felt I would be humbled and honored to give back to the community," he said.
The issues he wants to address include relieving the area's "crushing" property tax burden and helping to influence new gun laws needed for school safety.
Shah said the mayor and trustees should work together for the good of the community, but he is not currently running with any other candidates.
Dailly, who has more than 25 years' experience as a trustee, announced his candidacy in November. He touts his knowledge of the village and its operations as his main strengths.
"I understand how government works, and local government in particular," Dailly said. "I bring a dedication to what's going on in Schaumburg. Schaumburg runs well, and with all due respect to Al (Larson), that's also due to the board."
Dailly's current term as a trustee ends in April. Fellow trustees George Dunham and Mark Madej said they plan to run for re-election at that time but have not yet identified a third candidate who might run with them for Dailly's seat.