For new Mount Prospect mayor, a role three decades in the making
In guiding his successful campaign for Mount Prospect mayor, Paul Hoefert remembered the sage words of a former mayor and state legislator, Carolyn Krause.
"She taught me years ago don't ever take an election for granted, and since I heard that probably 30-plus years ago, I never did, and I certainly didn't take this one for granted."
Hoefert, who's served three decades years as a village trustee, won 60% of the vote in Tuesday's election to defeat fellow village board members William Grossi and Colleen Saccotelli. Current Mayor Arlene Juracek did not seek reelection.
Hoefert said he is humbled by the margin of victory and the voter turnout.
"It's reflective of a body of work over 30 years that was based on standing with the people and supporting their interests in our community," he said.
Hoefert first was elected trustee in 1991, along with Irvana Wilks and George Clowes. Wilks would later go on to win the mayor's office in 2005 and serve two terms.
"I think every trustee thinks about running for mayor at some point," Hoefert said. "But I wouldn't say it was my ultimate goal. I certainly enjoyed my time as a trustee and felt like I had a significant impact, but I just felt like the time was right now to make a run for mayor."
Now that the work of the campaign is over, it is time for Hoefert and his new board to roll up their sleeves as they address issues related to the pandemic and Mount Prospect's future when it's over.
"So now, as we see the light at the end of the tunnel hopefully, we've got to rebuild the local economy," he said. "I think we weathered the storm well, but we do have to rebuild our local economy and hopefully get our small businesses back up on their feet and get this thing back to where it should be."
A big part of his work as mayor will be to preside over an almost entirely new village board. Three new trustees were elected last week and Hoefert will need to appoint someone to fill his former seat.
Remaining from the previous board are Trustee Richard Rogers and one of Hoefert's mayoral opponents, Colleen Saccotelli. The third mayoral candidate, Trustee William Grossi, is leaving the board, along with Trustee Michael Zadel.
"Obviously, there's new board members who are good people, and I'm sure they have the same goals for the community that I do, in the sense of making it a better place to live and improving the quality of life," Hoefert said.
He referred to Grossi and Saccotelli as "formidable challengers."
"We did all the basic blocking and tackling. We did social media. We did everything that I think needs to be done to win an election, and it proved out," he said. "I had a lot of help along the way (from) friends, family, supporters -- people, frankly, that I don't even know but came out of the woodwork and wanted to help. And that is humbling."
Grossi offered his congratulations.
"I wish him much success over the next four years. I also want to thank all the Mount Prospect residents who took the time to vote in the election," he said.
Saccotelli said she expected a closer race but is looking forward to serving the next two years as a trustee.
"I think it's going to be certainly a time of transition for the board with a lot of new members coming on," she said. "But there is certainly a lot of work to do post-pandemic, and I look forward to continuing to move Mount Prospect forward."
As for his replacement on the board, Hoefert said he has a shortlist in mind, but is not prepared to mention any names yet.
"I think, because the board is going to be comprised of so many new people, that we may need some experience on the board to sit in my seat," he said.