Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes announces reelection bid
Positioning himself as a voice of continuity and experience in trying times, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes on Monday announced his intention to seek a third term despite originally planning to serve only two.
"It was really just recently," Hayes said of making the decision to run for reelection, "although the door swung a little further open every day as we went through the last five months.
"If things had planned out as I expected, then I probably would not have run. But with COVID-19 and the George Floyd situation and a lot of issues that have raised a lot of uncertainty not just in Arlington Heights but the Chicagoland area and country, I don't feel the time is right for me to leave."
Even though much of the political attention of the day is on the November presidential election, candidates can begin passing petitions next month for the April 6, 2021, local elections in Illinois.
Hayes said he wanted to announce his decision early enough as others on the village board and in the community contemplate running for local office. He said he's spoken with all village trustees, none of whom have so far signaled a mayoral challenge.
Last election, Hayes ran unopposed, but he bested two other candidates to become mayor in 2013 after Arlene Mulder's retirement. A West Point graduate and attorney, Hayes first was elected as a village trustee in 1991.
In announcing his intention to seek another four years, Hayes on Monday pointed to the village's fiscal stability -- despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic -- with no village tax levy increase last year or plans for a hike this year.
Hayes also touted the creation of a business-friendly environment, citing as an example the Arlington Alfresco downtown outdoor dining program launched in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus.
He says he's also proud of the village's reputation as a "family-oriented community." It's a phrase he's used notably during contentious debates over recreational marijuana sales. He cast the tiebreaking vote to impose a ban on sales late last year, and last month he was the only member of the village board to vote against overturning the ban.
"I'm really bolstered by many, many people who've supported me in that particular vote and respect the approach I've taken in trying to maintain our reputation as a family-oriented community."
Among things on the to-do list, Hayes said, is dealing with lost revenue, assisting struggling businesses, and formulating diversity, equity and inclusion policies.