Irfan M Ibrahim: Candidate profile
Name: Irfan M Ibrahim
Office sought: DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioner, District 3
Family: Married with two children
Occupation: Physical therapist
Education: Doctorate of physical therapy from Alabama State University
Civic Involvement: Civic coalition founder of "No Warehouse, No Trucks" along Darien and Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve; petition founder of Willowbrook Say No to Toxic Air; volunteer at Wellness House
Question & Answers:
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I care about our public lands and natural resources. As a father of two young children, I am a firm believer that we don't inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. My motivation is to add an independent voice on the Forest Preserve board that represents all residents of DuPage County.
Q. Two ways you would contribute to the board?
Improving education and accessibility of the Forest Preserves to all residents will be my number one priority. I will push for transparency and accountability that will be mindful of hard earned taxpayer's dollars.
Q. How would you rate the job board is doing to develop existing forest preserves and make them accessible to residents? How would you approach things differently?
I would give the current board a "C."
Accessibility: Adding sidewalks around forest preserves so nearby residents can access forest preserves through biking or walking and that would free up extra parking spaces for other residents. Small improvements and communication with local city, and village governments can elevate property values for forest preserve neighbors.
Intergovernmental communication: We need collaborations between towns, villages and cities. I will listen and work with local leaders (mayors, village presidents, local park districts officials) and take their input for future projects to improve designated bike lanes, walking, hiking/running trails for all DuPage County residents.
Infrastructure improvement: It's hard to believe but if you are out for a bike ride, run or hike at majority of the forest preserves, there is no running water infrastructure for any of the restrooms. Instead of investing $9 million in a golf course clubhouse, I would try to redirect the board's attention to the basic needs of DuPage County residents.
Waterways improvement: As a clinician, I would like to improve accessibility for person with disabilities, specifically by adding American Disability compliant docks for waterways.
Evidence based forestry management: Invasive species like Buckthorn needs aggressive management, I will ensure experts and professionals help curb the invasion of it.
Q. What is the most important issue facing the forest preserve in your district and how it should be addressed?
Waterfall Glen parking and bicycle Docks: For the past 10 years we have been waiting for parking infrastructure improvement and bicycle docks. It will be my primary priority to add more parking spaces.
No warehouse, no truck terminals at the heart of Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. If elected, I will try my best to forge improved communication between private sectors, city and village officials. Specifically, diesel-emitting and noise-polluting industries should not become the forest preserve's neighbors.
Assigning addresses: Currently residents cannot find any proper address of most forest preserves entrances on GPS systems. If elected, I will work hard with my colleagues to assign addresses in honor of veterans who have served this great nation.
Youth education: Connecting classrooms to nature. Creating 40hrs annual fellowship for high school students who are interested in forestry science as a career or simply have an interest to study forestry science.
Q. Name one current leader who most inspires you.
Inspiration for leadership can come from many places. For me, my hard working parents who did everything to give me an education. I will always be in debt to my teachers and my professors for shaping my critical thinking skills.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Giving 100 percent to the task that you take upon with out expecting a reward. My family ran a small business growing up so honesty, hard work, dedication and determination were instilled in me and I still try to follow it every day.
Q. If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Go back to my childhood and relive a fun summer day with my friends.
Q. What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you later in life?
Science was my favorite subject in school. Science has been instrumental in shaping my professional career. It has helped me understand and appreciate the over all view of the world around me.
Q. If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do not take your setbacks too seriously; live each day as a learning experience.