Municipal elections are 12 months away, but political newcomer Paul Vail has thrown his hat in the ring in Oak Lawn’s 5th District trustee race.
Incumbent Trustee Carol Quinlan, who was first elected in 2007, has refused to comment on her political future.
Vail is the second person to announce his candidacy. Patrick McGowan in September in announced his plans to oppose veteran Trustee Robert Streit in the 3rd District.
Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) also faces re-election because he won a two-year term in 2013.
Vail, 36, is a lifelong Oak Lawn resident and chairs the village’s corridor studies committee.
He said Planning and Development Commissioner Rich Piazza, a friend and mentor, encouraged him to consider running for public office.
“I’ve been wanting to get involved, so now I’m doing it,” said Vail, the divorced father of a 6-year-old boy.
He added that the political infighting for which the village board has become known did not discourage him to run.
“You can’t complain about it if you don’t try to change it,” said Vail, who grew up in the 2nd District and attended McGugan Junior High before heading to Mt. Carmel High School. He is a graduate of DePaul University.
Vail, who works as a construction manager, said he is running as an independent and was not asked by Mayor Sandra Bury or other politically connected individuals to consider the race.
“I’m not with or against anybody,” he said, adding that he has “no grand political agenda.” Rather, he said, he believes it time for people of his generation to reinvest in Oak Lawn.
He said he announced his candidacy well ahead of next year’s election season to “get myself out there and give people time to get to know me.”
Vail was not critical of Quinlan’s work as trustee, but added, “I just think more can be done. He said he sent an email to Quinlan notifying her of his plans to run, but did not receive a response.