Guest Opinion: Bolingbrook United 2021 – United for a better future and a better community (Mixed)


On April 6, voters in Bolingbrook will select a new mayor, a new clerk, and three trustees.  We asked the three local parties, Bolingbrook Independent Voices, Bolingbrook United, and First Party for Bolingbrook, to submit guest opinions to published on the eve of early voting Only Bolingbrook United accepted our invitation.  

All views expressed in these guest opinions are those of the political parties and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Babbler editorial board.

Founded in 2016 on a quiet residential street by a group of residents who were tired of the status quo and seeing only those who were well connected or campaign donors having their concerns addressed, Bolingbrook United has been a grassroots movement from the beginning.  With the aim of providing a voice for all residents and addressing long-neglected concerns of the community, our village board candidates for 2021 have a diverse and experienced background from which they draw and can provide leadership within the community.

Jackie Traynere:  Candidate for Mayor

Jackie is a long-time resident of Bolingbrook, has served the community as a County Board member since 2008, and is the chair of the DuPage Township Democrats organization.  Jackie has been a small business owner and was employed for 22 years as a union organizer.  She volunteers in countless ways within the community and is a Rotarian.  You can read more about Jackie’s background at:  https://bolingbrookunited.com/jackie/

Elnalyn Costa:  Candidate for Village Clerk

“El”, as she’s better known to her friends, is a 14 year Filipino-American resident of Bolingbrook.  El is the Fund Administrator of the SEIU Healthcare Illinois Benefit Funds in Chicago where she leads a team that serves 20,000 frontline healthcare and child care workers.  El serves her community in many ways including as a DuPage Township Precinct Captain and as the treasurer for the Illinois Democratic Women of Will County.  Learn more about El at:  https://bolingbrookunited.com/elnalyn/

Melisa Quinones:  Candidate for Village Trustee

Melisa is a local attorney, parent of a special needs child, and grew up in Puerto Rico.  When Hurricane Maria devastated the island Melisa moved her family to Bolingbrook to be near her sister and start a new life.  Since becoming a resident Melisa has become very involved in the local community by serving on the Crime Stoppers board, becoming and serving as a certified mediator and Guardian ad Litem for the court system, and volunteering for the local “Lawyers in the Library” program.  View more about Melisa’s qualifications here:  https://bolingbrookunited.com/melisa/

Jose Quintero:  Candidate for Village Trustee

An active member of St. Dominic’s Church in Bolingbrook since 2004, Jose originally immigrated to the US from Durango, Mexico when he was five.  His background is in many ways indicative of the “American Dream” as he studied at College of DuPage and later graduated from Florida Atlantic University, now working as the VP of Operations and Business Development for the Windson Hospitality Group.  Jose is also a Rotarian and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce.  Learn more about Jose here:  https://bolingbrookunited.com/jose/

Rondel Parker:  Candidate for Village Trustee

Rondel is a fiscally conservative, independent, and non-partisan candidate who is a graduate of Illinois State University and a public servant.  An avid health enthusiast, Rondel loves to run with the Bolingbrook Fun Run Club and help others stay fit in the gym.  The parent of 5 children, including 3 who are members of the US Airforce, Rondel learned early on the value of community from his grandparents as he volunteered to feed the needy.  Learn more about Rondel here:   https://bolingbrookunited.com/rondel/

Bolingbrook United 2021 Platform:

While it is impossible to address all concerns that the Village currently faces or will face over the next four years, the candidates have a clear focus on the following issues:

I. TRANSPARENCY

Bolingbrook United will work to make sure local government is open and accountable. It’s time to give power and information back to the people. We will put a stop to backroom deals that benefit only a few connected players, end no-bid contracts, and responsibly manage our village vendors and finances. It’s your money – you deserve a say in how it’s spent.

 Village meetings and engaging with residents on key issues

Everyone should have equal access to the work of their government. We will give residents a voice at Village Meetings with fewer restrictions, and open channels of communication for residents who can’t attend to make sure all can share their input. Before key financial decisions are made, like taking on more village debt or bidding on contracts, residents will have a real chance to weigh-in.

 End Conflicts of Interest

Bolingbrook officials have a long history of playing favorites and accepting campaign donations from those who do business with the village. We will enact new ethics restrictions and make sure our vendors are doing what is best for our residents, not politicians.

 Modernize Village Hall and how we interface with residents

We will work with Village staff to upgrade the use of technology and improve the ways residents get and share information, apply for permits, and put in requests.

II. A BETTER DEAL

Bolingbrook United will help us rebuild from COVID-19 even stronger than before. We will work to fill empty storefronts and strengthen our local economy. We will also root out corruption and find savings in our budget so that we can lower property taxes and fees while delivering better, more affordable village services like clean water and the option for garbage containers.

 Redevelop Bolingbrook Commons

The entryway to Bolingbrook from the Route 53/I-55 Corridor is an eyesore. We will work with the owners of the empty, deteriorating space where Century Tile was to redevelop a welcoming entry to our village that is an attractive, productive, and tax-producing area. This would include redeveloping the Corridor and Amazon development.

 Review the profitability of all Village-owned facilities and take action

Take a deep review of all Village-owned facilities to determine what changes are needed to make each property more accessible to the public, more profitable for the village, and less impactful on our long-term debt.

 Promote Economic Development & Business Opportunities

Establish a committee of local business leaders and Village staff to focus on economic development and repurposing of vacant commercial space. We will focus on working with local businesses to identify solutions for attracting new businesses and keeping businesses open and successful.

 Enhance Village services like Water & Garbage

The cost of clean water and garbage services remains a hardship for many Bolingbrook residents. We will review the current contracts and explore other avenues to deliver affordable services.

II. INCLUSION

Bolingbrook United takes pride in the diversity of our community as we work towards changes that provide more inclusive voices at the table. We believe public services should represent all our residents. We will take a closer look at our police and fire departments and collaborate with our school systems and non-profit organizations to support equity and bring people together.

 Community Engagement

Develop Village forums and programming that listens and attends to the needs of all residents, working families, our children, our seniors, and our ethnic communities represented in Bolingbrook.

 Safety as a priority

Crime prevention in all corners of our community is critical for everyone’s safety. We support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the way our police engage with our citizens.

 Education and Training

We will partner with our school systems and community organizations to encourage our youth to deepen their learning about social justice, and to provide job training and development programs to our adult residents to promote job security and economic justice.