Park Forest Village Trustee Candidates: In Their Own Words

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- These statements have been provided by each individual candidate and have been published unedited by The Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government in Park Forest as a service to all candidates and to the voters of Park Forest. The statements are the sole responsibility of the candidates. The Non-Partisan Committee is not responsible for the views expressed by the candidates nor the factual content of their statements.

David Atkins III

My name is David AtkinsIII. I am running for the position of Trustee for park forest. I presently reside in the Victory Center. Which is located at 151 main st. Park Forest IL. I have resided there for 5 years. I am 72 years old. I graduated from Crane High School where I was on the basketball team. I was a commissioner for 3 years. I was on the planning committee for the senior fair. The beginning of the year I became senior commissioner chairman. I help a lot of the seniors in my building. I bring a lot of information to the seniors to put on the bulletin board. I assist them as much as I can. I love helping others anyway that I can. I have help a few different jobs in the past: I was employed at Bally Manufacturer for 10 years, an insurance salesman, security for Schwinn Bicycle and also I was employed at Columbia College for Sherriff O`Grady. My parents were married for over 50 years. I was proud to be able to attend their 50th golden anniversary. I was in my early 30s at the time. My mother and father were both born in Mississippi. My mother had 8 sisters and 4 brothers. My father had no sisters and no brothers. My dad worked for Chicago housing authority for 35 years before retiring. My mother was a homemaker. My father married my mother and I have 8 sisters and 4 brothers. It is a total of 13 of us. All of my brothers including myself are over 6ft tall. All of my sisters are tall also. my father was 6ft tall and my mother was 5ft 11in. I am the tallest of all of us. I am 6ft 8in tall and I weigh 270 pounds.

JeRome Brown

Religion: Methodist
Resident: Park Forest, IL
Marital Status: Married
Children: 2
Occupation: Youth Advocate/Life Coach/ Professional Speaker

JeRome has been a powerful community servant for 2 decades. His involvement includes but are not limited to,

  • Commissioner-Park Forest Planning/Development
  • Past President-Park Forest Toastmasters
  • Member/ Program Director-Park Forest Rotary Club
  • Player-"Bears On Court" (raising money for Firefighter Association of America)
  • Community Liason-"Caps program"
  • Speaker and Trainer-community job fair
  • Special program director/Counselor/and Tutor -youth organization “We Have Not Forgotten You”
  • President-West Pullman Park Advisory Council
  • Community Representative-Chicago Local School Council and a vendor/ participant with countless other venues, health fairs, and food baskets.

Youth Advocate Program,(YAP) a youth organization designed for extremely at- risk youth recruited JeRome. Considering the uproar of imprisonment and death to so many youth JeRome embraced the opportunity. "Roll Call," a reentry to society program for 18-25year olds, recruited JeRome as a life coach. JeRome dedicates both positions in memory of his brother whom he lost to community violence.

JeRome’s influential career includes Management with several fortunate 500 companies; Citibank, United Insurance and Smith/Barney. His duties included Sales, insurance, financial planning, training and development.

JeRome’s aspiration is to bridge his life, educational and career expertise to the Village of Park Forest, as well as to assist in economic development, infrastructure, education, and safety. Furthermore, he also believes in motivating diverse communities to grow and produce new resources.


Alderman Carrie Austin Community Award Supporting the Community
Mayor Richard Daley Ideas & Commitment to the Community
Cook County Board President John Stroger- Job/Community Resource Fair
Chicago School District Motivational Speaker & Key Note Speaker at Graduations
Lamont Brown-Appreciate Certificate-Prairie State-Pursing the Dream with the Browns
JeRome’s goal: foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment
of mankind.

Joseph Carroll

265 Rich Road, Park Forest IL 60466
Phone: 708-481-3499
Email: [email protected]

I have been a resident of Park Forest for 13 years. As an active father of 2 children I am concerned about matters which I believe the village should be addressing. These include involving the community more in their local government and keeping the village safe for all residents.

About Me:

  • 10 year Veteran of the United State Marines.
  • Coach a local Pee Wee Football Team.
  • I am a new voice and will work hard to represent your interest on the Board.
  • I am an independent and impartial decision maker.
  • Local Tax Business Owner.
  • Work on campaign to elect local School Board Members.
  • Graduate of Kankakee Community College AS in Business.
  • Graduate from Governors State University BS in Accounting.

If elected I would:

  • Support more participation in crime prevention by the residents.
  • Work on bringing big box business to the Village to help steady the tax rate.
  • Work on reducing unemployment within the Village.

A vote for me is a vote for you on the Board.

Andrew DiCosmo

Andrew DiCosmo knows Park Forest. He grew up in the co-ops, attended its schools and with the purchase of his first home four years ago, decided to stay and raise his family in Park Forest.

As a resident of Park Forest, he is extremely concerned that this town will no longer be a great place to live because of high taxes, increasing water bills, vacant properties, dwindling property values and increasing crime.

“Andy” wants to help Park Forest use all of its potential to be a great place to live, work and shop. As a technology consultant Andrew helps small businesses, libraries, municipalities and school districts reduce costs and decrease budgets using technology and governance planning. He meets with small business owners and organizations about how they can improve their current processes and brings new ideas to the table. He understands what is needed to help bring more business to Park Forest and wants to help give residents more choices of where to shop in Park Forest.

Over the past five years he has used his knowledge in technology as an adjunct professor at Prairie State College. He is also part of a technical advisory committee at the college.

In his free time he enjoys playing golf, basketball, and hosting friends and family at his home. He also enjoys learning about new technology and helping others. He is also owns a small business in Park Forest called “PC Ingenuity” that offers various computer consulting services.

To read more about Andrew DiCosmo, volunteer for the campaign or have up to date information until the election visit: www.AndrewDiCosmo.com.

Tiffani Graham

My name is Tiffani Graham, I have lived in Park Forest for more than 30 years. I am a Rich East High School graduate and I loved growing up here. I think that all children should have the opportunity to grow up in a village like Park Forest. I felt safe and I always had something to do. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am a firm believer in that phrase because I feel I was raised not only by my parents, but by a village as well; the Village of Park Forest!

I am deeply invested in the community, as a member of the Park Forest Youth Commission, president of the Rotary Club in Park Forest, raising money for the restoration of the Wetlands Observation deck, and active on the Park Forest Sustainability Committee. My desire is to give back to the community by helping to steer our young people in the right direction. I would like to see our community supporting our youth in making them feel like they are citizens that matter. I want to work to bring much needed business opportunities to the village, maintaining our cultural entities and solving our housing issues of vacant and deteriorating homes. I am the best candidate for the job because I am young and motivated to bring changes to the community.

Darryl L. Jordon

No Statement Provided

Robert McCray

Rob McCray, his wife Alicia, and son Erik, have lived and enjoyed life in Park Forest for nearly 40 years. Rob is a retired Manager from the U. S. Postal Service. He is proud to be completing his second term as Park Forest Village Trustee and with the trust and support of voters in the coming election, is eager to continue the work and service to Park Forest of which he has been a part.

“I feel confident that over these past eight years the work, decision making and participation in the progress of this Village has benefitted Park Forests’ Citizens and the Businesses we have in town thus far.”

More Businesses are coming.

“I have served as Trustee Liaison to the Recreation and Parks Department, Park Forest Planning Commission, the Youth Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Park Forest Library Board. I am also a Founding Member of The Park Forest Mediation Task Force, Board Member and Past Chair of the Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government, and member of the Rotary’s Four Way Test Scholarship Committee."

During my tenure as Trustee, we have realized growth in the downtown, created plans for new business downtown and 211th Street Metra lots, and the site of the former Norwood Plaza. The Economic downturn is on the upswing and the Mayor and Board of Trustees have put forth diligent plans to have Park Forest poised to be part of this upswing. Service and protection of the best interests of the Village of Park Forest and its citizens is my only job.

Theresa Settles

Theresa Settles and her husband James N. have lived in Park Forest for thirtythree years, raising two daughters, who both attended Indiana and Rich East High Schools. She is a registered nurse, employed by Ingalls Memorial Hospital for the last 36 years, and has prior experience with banking (First National Bank of Chicago) and advertising (the former Foote Cone and Belding). Theresa also provides occupational nursing at the Chicago Heights Ford Stamping Plant. She earned her BSN at Governor State University. She also owns a small Park Forest home business in CPR education.

“I became involved early with the Park Forest community through school activities and became more involved with specific interests in the arts. I am a Board member of the Tall Grass Arts Association, Park Forest Area League of Women Voters (Board Member), former Park Forest Human Relations Commissioner, member of Park Forest Mayor’s Advisory Board, and a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow. I am also a former member of the Park Forest Rotary and Far South Suburban NAACP, where I served as a Board member and secretary.

I would like to serve all residents of the Village: children, adults, and the elderly, collaborating with the other elected officials and residents to identify the forever changing challenges and solutions for the people and Village of Park Forest. I have always loved living in Park Forest and would like to commit my time, talents, and service to help us continue to Live, Grow, and Discover together to maintain Park Forest as that “All-American City.”

Randy Simmons

Occupation: Sales Consultant, Independent Insurance Agent
Residence of Park Forest Since: 2001
Activities: President of the Park Forest Ambassadors, Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Head Coach in the Little Tykes Park Forest Basketball Program Randy Simmons

Hello, my fellow Park Forest residents my name is Randy Simmons and I would consider it an honor and a privilege to be elected as a representative for all of you as your Village Trustee. I always actively participated in programs for the economic development and improvement of the community. However, I never imagined that I would pursue opportunities or any involvement in politics. Since living in Park Forest, for the past 12 plus years, with my wife (Kim Simmons), son (Randy Simmons Jr.) and soon to be addition (our baby girl) in March, we are truly proud to call Park Forest our home. My residency and community involvement in this evolving, diverse and continually changing and growing community has motivated me to become more active in this great community of ours. Volunteering has always been important to me not for just the satisfaction of meeting new faces but for the satisfaction of serving my community and demonstrating that volunteering (everyday people using their talents and skills to implement change) will build a stronger community. Joining the Park Forest Ambassador has given me that opportunity to meet people and effectively bring about collaborative efforts for change, which in itself is satisfaction. More importantly though, this collaboration has piqued my interest in learning the history of Park Forest, a rich historical culture that included a thriving middle class and a strong business community. That is my goal for Park Forest to get back to days when we were recognized on several occasions as an “All American City. “ I will truly
appreciate your support.

Jonathan Vanderbilt

Jonathan Vanderbilt is a third generation Park Forest resident. My wife Kathleen and I grew up in town and went to Rich East and Crete-Monee, respectively. We have lived in all parts of the village; I lived with my family in the Lincolnwood West neighborhood, I rented a house with friends on Shabbona Drive, and currently live in Area B Cooperative with my wife. I graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelors in History, minoring in Political Science. I’m currently working on my masters at Purdue University in Career and Technical Education.

Park Forest has a great tradition in having community residents volunteer to serve the village in various commissions and committees. I’m currently serving on the Recreation and Parks Commission and the Mayor Citizen Advisory Committee. I have worked with the Environmental Committee to start the Community Garden Commission; where I was able to start a community garden on Algonquin Street working with neighbors and youth. I also serve at my church Sauk Trail Baptist Temple in the AWANA youth program.

Park Forest is a community with an outstanding history and is still a great place to live and grow. Recent times have been tough to the village and the south suburbs. Depopulation in the village has become a major contribution to most of the village’s problems; high tax burden, lack of support to businesses and a high crime rate.

If elected I will continue to work on solving the problems associated with depopulation in the village by: ·

  • Decreasing the tax burden while not sacrificing the great amenities the village offers
  • Work with other Boards members to create a positive economic environment for businesses
  • Continue the village’s sustainability model and plan
  • Work on improving the housing stock
  • Lowering the crime rate in Park Forest.

Source: Non-Partisan Local Government of Park Forest