Laura A. Vevers: 2023 candidate for Elmhurst City Council 6th Ward
Age on Election Day: 61
Occupation: Life coach/special needs advocate; chaplain certified in crisis response; pursuing my doctoral degree
Previous offices held: I have never held an elected or appointed position, however I have served our community in other roles including not limited to: food pantries, feeding the homeless, K9's for veterans, prison ministry, special needs club teams, Gateway (special needs) horsemanship, public education on the effects of PTSD, coaching, church, mentoring young adults in pursuit of community
Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council respond to it?
A: The single most pressing issue facing our city is crime and public safety.
It's no secret that crime is increasing, especially with Elmhurst's easy access to highways and proximity to Cook County.
I would ensure that our first responders are fully funded, continue to receive high quality training, and work to continue to create a bridge between both the community and the first responders.
I would continue to promote the Elmhurst Police Department's Neighborhood Roll Call program which is a great example of creating bridges between the first responders and the community.
I have heard the 6th Ward's concerns regarding traffic patterns around our schools.
As 6th Ward Alderman, I would work to provide a solution to these traffic patterns that ensures the safety of all loved ones while supporting homeowners, first responders and school staff.
Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?
A: The City of Elmhurst has enjoyed a AAA bond rating. I believe our city management has worked well to keep spending in line with income, and has maintenance built in to a regular rotation which helps to avoid large unplanned expenditures.
Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?
A: The city has been working on the stormwater management system, and this should remain a priority as the system is vital. The city website would better serve residents with a revamp, allowing it to be a more functional communication tool.
Improving our economic development, whether our downtown, or other business areas, is something that needs continual funding. The commercial businesses provide needed revenue for city services, so ensuring that new businesses replace any loss is key to our quality of life in Elmhurst.
Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?
A: With the national economy slowing down, projects that are not connected to critical services, such as health and public safety, should be evaluated as appropriate.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?
A: As noted, our ongoing stormwater management project is our most important project as it relates to the health of residents, and directly impacts property values, and the best solution for payment is under evaluation by the current council members. I have addressed curtailing other spending, as appropriate.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your city council.
A: My chosen profession is a Life and IEP Coach for Special Needs Families. I am also a Chaplain, certified in Crisis Response. The skills that I have gained in my work are complimentary to listening to and analyzing the information brought forward in the group setting of city council.
Working with special needs families involves many government agencies, frequently through very challenging situations, and this has trained me to work things through, together, for the best solution for all involved. Essentially, what is needed to produce effective actions within the city council is what I already do, daily, but with other people, as we work toward effective actions for special needs families.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: My background involves business and personal communications, along with leadership and mentoring. I believe this is a solid framework to achieve my goal of representing all people of the 6th Ward with empathy, understanding a desire to serve and determination.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I would like to work to providing Autism Awareness to our first responders. Other cities use things like a particular decal to alert the first responders that there could be someone who may have autism in the vehicle.
This can serve to de-escalate the situation quickly, thereby protecting passengers, drivers and police officers.
Providing mock training for traffic violations and accidents, giving neurodiverse persons these experiences, would be another component that would benefit many in our community.