This forum will be a community discussion of public campaign financing at the Village level. “Campaigns are expensive, and lack of money might prevent qualified candidates from running for local office,” said President Abu-Taleb. “Public financing of local elections would be one way to encourage good people to serve.”
Joining Abu-Taleb will be Village Trustee Adam Salzman and Matt Baron, a journalist-turned-publicist who covered numerous local political campaigns for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. Baron also serves on the Oak Park Public Library Board.
“When I considered running for public office, I chose the library board because of my passion for the library’s impact on people’s lives. But it was also driven on a practical level, because I knew it would not require much financial investment,” said Baron. “At the forum, I will not be speaking on behalf of the library board, but as a citizen seeking to encourage other people to get more engaged in the political process.”
Also present will be David Melton, Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. ICPR is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for various election reforms. One such reform is small donor matching programs, in which candidates raise a certain level of small donations from local residents, which are then matched from a publicly financed fund.
"Oak Park is an issues-oriented community. We should have issues-oriented elections,” said Salzman. “With the reforms Mr. Melton is proposing, candidates would be free to focus on the issues that matter to the community instead of being preoccupied with raising money."
“I encourage all Oak Park residents to come and learn about this potential opportunity for reform, and to discuss it with your neighbors,” Abu-Taleb said. “Your feedback at previous forums has been helpful in shaping the Board’s direction on several issues, including economic development projects.”
This is the sixth public forum held by President Abu-Taleb since he took office a year ago and the third in 2014, part of a commitment to transparent government and engagement with residents.
For further information, please go to http://www.ananforoakpark.com.