As Glen Ellyn nomination process begins, two emerge in race for village president
While Glen Ellyn's influential Civic Betterment Party is still recruiting municipal candidates for the spring election, two fixtures in village government are seeking the nomination at the top of the ticket.
Village Trustee Mark Senak and Mary Loch have emerged as village president candidates at the starting line of a nominating system that dates to 1931 and aims to level the playing field in Glen Ellyn politics.
Voters in November will determine who carries the Civic Betterment banner from a field of hopefuls selected by the party's nominating committee. Typically, committee members don't reveal who's being considered in their recruitment process.
Senak and Loch said they're pursuing the party's nod after Village President Diane McGinley announced she won't seek a second term.
McGinley says she's supporting Loch for village president. She called Loch, the chairwoman of the village's plan commission, "fair, evenhanded and open to change." Loch also was a village trustee from 2001 to 2005.
"Since she has the knowledge of working within the system, she has some great ideas for trying to unite the community when a development comes on," McGinley said.
Her successor will take the helm as redevelopment projects and a streetscape redesign are being planned downtown. In recent years, some development issues have been fiercely debated or entangled in lawsuits.
A 30-year resident, Loch said she's not running on a single-issue agenda but would look to foster civility on the board, open up lines of communication, promote fiscal responsibility and encourage "smart" development.
"I want to make sure that developers want to come and invest in Glen Ellyn because ultimately, we want Glen Ellyn to be thriving," Loch said. "And the only way for it to be thriving is for people to want to live in Glen Ellyn, and you've got to have a thriving environment."
Loch will submit her application to the party's nominating committee in a few days.
Senak, an attorney now in his second term as village trustee, sent his application at the end of July. He also is a Republican precinct committeeman in Milton Township.
Senak identified challenges promoting development while maintaining the village's historic character, developing a master transportation plan to ease traffic congestion in the central business district and providing a broad spectrum of affordable housing, among an array of other issues before the village.
Senak said he wants to better engage residents by "stepping out beyond the dais" and moving some village board meetings out of the Civic Center to other areas of Glen Ellyn.
"If we have to go south of Roosevelt Road or wherever that may be to demonstrate that we're coming to you, that's what we're going to do," Senak said.
Party leaders, meanwhile, are adjusting their traditional town hall in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The party plans to hold the town meeting and final voting on Nov. 14, but the exact time, location and format is to be determined. Officers also are looking to expand early voting and offer drive-through options.
Those interested in running for village president, the three open village trustee seats and the three open library board spots can complete an online application to the committee by Sept. 15. The town meeting ballot will be solidified by Oct. 15.
Party-backed candidates almost always go on to win election. But candidates still can run against a Civic Betterment nominee by filing nominating petitions with the village clerk's office.