Addison mayoral challenger wants to bring diversity

  • Richard "Rich" Veenstra

    Richard "Rich" Veenstra

  • Maria Sinkule

    Maria Sinkule

 
 
Updated 3/5/2021 5:53 PM

Richard "Rich" Veenstra, Addison's two-term incumbent mayor, is facing his first contested election.

Maria Sinkule, the Addison Public Library board president, says she's running for mayor because she wants to address issues related to racial equity and diversity in the village.

 

"It's important to have representation of people who look like me on local community boards," said Sinkule, who is Mexican American.

Throughout her career as a social worker, Sinkule said her goal has been to reach out to marginalized communities.

"The idea of creating an inclusive and healthy community that serves everyone has always been a goal or something I want to pursue," Sinkule, 37, said during a recent Daily Herald endorsement interview.

Veenstra and Sinkule both agree the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be a priority.

"COVID has hit all sectors of our community," Veenstra, 72, said. "We're looking at the health and welfare of our residents -- also the financial health and welfare of our businesses in town."

For example, Veenstra said he played a role in assembling an Addison Church Leadership Council to better plan and organize the delivery of services to the village's most vulnerable populations.

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Veenstra also stressed his involvement with industrial and governmental associations. Veenstra is the vice president of both the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and the Illinois Municipal League.

Before becoming mayor, Veenstra was an Addison trustee for 21 years while also working as a pharmacist. Now retired, Veenstra wants to remain mayor for at least one more term to help with continuity following some recent turnover in village staff positions.

"I feel very strongly that there needed to be someone who had been around for a while, and who had the management expertise to at least guide and mentor for the next several years," Veenstra said. "My perception was my legacy would be putting people in positions that would lead to a stronger community for the next 20 years."

But that transition period could come sooner if voters elect Sinkule.

"COVID has revealed many inequities in our community, especially people who are Latinx like me," said Sinkule, using a gender-neutral term. "It's important that we look at resources and relief that is honestly accessible to everyone."

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