Citing need for experience as Bears project looms, two Arlington Heights trustees to seek reelection

Two incumbent Arlington Heights trustees this week declared intentions to seek reelection to the elected panel that is expected to see some turnover next year.

Robin LaBedz, a nine-year trustee and the current president pro tem, and Tom Schwingbeck, a three-year trustee, emphasized experience in their respective campaign announcements, as they begin to circulate petitions to get on the April 4 municipal ballot.

And in both cases, the incumbents cited the redevelopment of Arlington Park and upcoming review of the possible Chicago Bears redevelopment as a reason to ask voters for another four years. Four seats will be up for election in the spring.

"The potential Bears stadium was a large factor in deciding to go ahead and run again," said LaBedz, who was appointed to the board in 2013 and was elected in 2015 and 2019. "There's been a fair amount of turnover in recent years, so I thought it was important to keep one of the experienced voices on the board. ... I think some continuity is helpful."

Both incumbents noted their experience reviewing development projects big and small on the village board and appointed village commissions. Before she was appointed to t the trustee seat of Tom Hayes when he was elected mayor in 2013, LaBedz served on the plan commission from 2007 to 2013, and on the downtown master plan task force from 2004 to 2006. Schwingbeck was on the zoning board of appeals from 2015 to 2019.

"As a current village trustee I know the issues facing our village and will continue to focus on being a good steward of our residents' money while making sure we offer them superior village services," Schwingbeck said in a written announcement. "It is important to me to be fiscally responsible, especially in these tough economic times. My time as a village trustee - along with my past service on the zoning board of appeals - will continue to be a significant benefit to the board and our residents in view of the potential opportunities for the Arlington Park redevelopment project."

LaBedz and Schwingbeck's announcements follow the decision last month of John Scaletta, Arlington Heights' most senior village trustee, not to seek reelection after four terms.

And Mary Beth Canty's seat will be up for grabs, too, after her election earlier this month as 54th District state representative. After she takes the oath of office in Springfield in January, Canty has said she intends to serve out the remainder of her four-year trustee term until the new board is seated in May.

Two potential candidates are already lining up to replace Canty and Scaletta on the board. Along with LaBedz and Schwingbeck, Scott Shirley and Wendy Dunnington have picked up candidate packets at village hall, according to Village Clerk Becky Hume.

Shirley was the village's public works director from January 1999 to April 2021, and is currently municipal services manager at the Chastain & Associates engineering firm, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dunnington, a part-time Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 teaching assistant, ran but lost a six-way race for four available trustee seats in 2021.

All candidates have between Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 to turn in signatures at village hall to get on the ballot.

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