Meet your candidates for the April 9 election in this series. Following is a candidate questionnaire. After that, check out a list of Patch.com articles about this candidate.
Louella Blaine Preston is running for re-election as Niles Trustee in the Village of Niles race.
Name: Louella Blaine Preston
Age: 66 years
How long have you lived in Niles? 37 years
Family: Husband, John
Education: B.S. University of Illinois Chicago, M.A. Northeastern Illinois University, Ed.D. Nova Southeastern University, J.D. The John Marshall Law School
Occupation: Retired Administrator and Teacher
Current member of the Illinois Bar
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices (please include years of service):
- Niles Park District Board, Commissioner appointed 1978-1979
- Maine Niles Association of Special Recreation Director 1978-1979
- Niles Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals Member 1979- 1985
- Trustee Village of Niles May 1985-current
- Northwest Municipal Conference Board, Niles Representative 1985- present
- Northwest Municipal Conference Executive Boar d 2011-current
- Northwest Municipal Conference Board Secretary 2012-present
- Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County Board of Directors, Niles Representative Founding member,1988-present
- Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County Executive member 2007-present
Other community involvement:
- Saint Isaac Jogues Parish-Active parishioner since 1978, Past Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, Current Eucharistic Minister, Lector, member of Parish Life Committee and Women’s Club
- Deanery 2E Council -member and Past Chairman (Deanery consists of 10 parishes including Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint John Brebeuf and Our Lady of Ransom) Delegate to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council 2006-current
- Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Catholic Education Committee member 2009-present
- Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Executive Committee member and Catholic Education Committee Chair 2010-present
- Retired Teachers Association of Chicago Board of Directors member 2011-present
- Coached girls volleyball, boys basketball and boys floor hockey in the Chicago Park District league 1971-1976
Campaign E-mail address (for publication): campaign@Niles 2013.com Campaign committee: Responsible Leadership for Niles Party, Louella Preston
Campaign Website: www.Niles 2013.com
Campaign Facebook: NA
Campaign Twitter: NA
1. Why are you running for this office?
Louella Blaine Preston: I am running for Trustee of the Village of Niles because I love Niles. This past term I have been part of the team that has brought honor to Niles as the Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids in the United States according to Bloomberg/Business Week. The next four years in Niles are unique because an incumbent Mayor is not running for reelection. This hasn’t happened in over 50 years. I want to use my experience and expertise to continue the reasons that Niles won this award.
2. What are the top issues facing the village of Niles right now, in your view?
Continuing great Niles services with low taxes is the overriding issue of the Village. Niles residents expect their local government to provide safe neighborhoods, strong business areas, reliable infrastructure, storm water management, efficient transportation, human services for all age levels and an appealing streetscape.
3. How should the village be addressing these issues?
The Niles Board will address these issues with opportunities for expanded input from the residents. After years of planning, last December Board meetings were broadcast live on cable and over the internet. They are also available on repeat broadcast. January 2013 began twice monthly meetings allowing expanded information from the professional staff of the Village, comments from residents and businesses permitting quality discussion among the Board members, leading to timely decision making.
4. What ideas do you have to improve the village, whether in services, economic development, transportation, outreach to residents, communication, environment or other areas?
I have actively participated in the creation of the Milwaukee Avenue Redevelopment Plan, the Stormwater Management Plan, the Environmental Action Plan, the Landscape Beautification Plan, the Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan and the Niles Code of Ethics. All documents are the result of many hours of meetings with Niles citizens, Niles businesses, village staff, professional consultants and Board members. The Village Board must now create a Strategic Plan to coordinate these ideas with our fiscal responsibilities.
5. What accomplishments, in public or community service or your professional life, would you like voters to know about?
Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids honor from Bloomberg/Business Week is one that is an accolade to all of us who are part of the Niles community. The Village of Niles has recently put up banners along Milwaukee Avenue emphasizing this award. The Illinois Women of the Year Achievement Award of 2001 and the National League of Cities Leadership Bronze Certificate in 2008 are the only two awards that I will mention at this time.
6. Niles has a reputation as a thriving business community and it won the Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids honor from Bloomberg/Business Week. What do you envision for its future?
I agree that Niles has a reputation as a thriving business community. What other suburb of our population size has two Walmarts, two Home Depots, three Jewel food stores, two Walgreens, two CVS stores, two Targets, JCPenneys, Sears, Kohls, Costco, etc.? I envision greater cooperation and support from the Village to and with the business community. A new Economic Development Coordinator and a full time Planner have recently been hired to fill former positions, but promising a new dynamic for future growth. The 1965 Zoning Code will be reviewed and revised this year to bring Niles into the 21st century.
7. Niles is divided between two townships, two high school districts and multiple elementary school districts. It does not have a downtown or a high school. In light of this fractionalization, what can be done to give Niles a sense of unity?
Niles has a sense of unity as evidenced by the previously mentioned Bloomberg/Businessweek award. To further unify the Village of Niles, I support the Village Board not only holding annual meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, but with other groups as well. These would include meetings with the Maine and Niles Township Boards to better coordinate the delivery of township services to Niles residents. A gathering of representatives from all religious institutions in an annual “Prayer Breakfast” is another way to unify our diverse community. Meetings with our human services department and other social agencies that serve the community could be planned. Gathering all the other Niles elected officials from the six school districts, the two park boards, and the Niles Library together to coordinate common goals could only be helpful to the residents. Requesting elected officials who represent Niles at the township, county or state levels to hold Town Hall meetings in Niles would emphasize that we’re all in this together!
8. Anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank the residents of the Village of Niles for electing me to serve their interests. I believe that together we have made a better place for future generations. Now the voters face critical decisions concerning the future of Niles in the upcoming municipal election. The team comprising the Responsible Leadership for Niles Party composed of Hanusiak, Hynes, Marusek, and Preston is ready to face the challenge of the future with its experience, integrity, honesty and its overwhelming desire to make Niles the best that it can be.
Previous articles featuring Louella Preston:
- Niles Environmental Plan Moves Ahead
- Proposed Golf Mill Tax Stirs Lively Debate
- Sign Honoring Ex-Mayor Blase Removed