Peter Ahern for 6th Ward Alderman
I have lived in Elmhurst for 6 years now, and I originally moved here with my wife, Brandy, and two step-children, Mikey and Lilly. Our family soon grew in size adding John and Nevaeh to the clan. I grew up in the north suburbs and my wife grew up in the south suburbs, so we were looking for a place in the middle close enough to our families. While looking for a place to call home, we were introduced to Elmhurst, and have enjoyed our time here ever since. We found a great community, in a great location, with great schools.
I have a background in Finance, having received my undergraduate degree in Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, ranked the number 3 business school in the country at the time I obtained this degree. I worked for two investment firms over 5 years, John Nuveen & Co, and Smith Barney. I moved on from the business world and followed my dream of becoming a police officer and have been doing this for the past 17 years in Lake County. While working as a police officer, I have continuously used my finance education for the benefit of my personal finances, and I have continued to learn as much as I can about Finance, Money Management, and Economics. I plan on moving back into the finance arena after my retirement from law enforcement. I believe that my experience in both of these areas will help me be a solid alderman and be able to work towards proper solutions in the area of the city’s economics and laws.
MY GOAL AS YOUR ALDERMAN
The purpose of any politician is to serve the wishes and address the concerns of the constituents that elect them. As Alderman, I aim to represent you in the best way I can, and to assure that the goals and objectives of the residents within my ward are accomplished. Everyone has their own personal biases, but as an elected official, I feel these need to be put aside in favor of what is good for the community as a whole. I plan on pushing my own biases aside while deciding on what best suits our ward based on what our residents desire.
- Covid 19 Pandemic – The pandemic has ravaged our country and our community, having physical, emotional, and mental affects on all of us. While I believe every effort has been done to attempt to resolve or deal with this pandemic, which has been unprecedented in our lifetime, and a unique new experience for everyone to deal with, I am heavily in favor of opening our schools and businesses, and keeping them open. I feel that not only have we had to deal with the personal loss and physical consequences with this pandemic, but also a great toll has been taken on our mental state with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, as well as on the economy and the livelihood of many families in this country losing everything they have and being out of work. I believe and know that we can keep our children in school so they grow up emotionally and physically heatlhy while getting as much out of their education as they can so they can be successful adults. I further believe that businesses need to stay open as well in order for our economy, which supports numerous families and is the backbone of our city, to survive. I know that all of this can be done in the safest manner possible and with every effort to protect those most vulnerable to this terrible virus. With the use of masks, social distancing, and vaccines, along with new innovations in businesses such as clear barriers and new ventilation sytems, I am confident that this can be accomplished. At the same time, more of an effort should be made towards protecting those who are most at risk, such as our elderly in nursing homes, and anyone who has any type of medical risk factor making them more susceptible to the disease. The city can provide services to family members who live with, or take care of other family members who are high risk. There are many possibilities in protecting those who need it and I am confident that we can do this while keeping our city, schools, and businesses functioning.
- The Economy and Taxes – My main focus as an alderman is to make sure our tax money is spent wisely while our businesses are successful. While Elmhurst certainly has many great services, our taxes are also high. I would focus on making sure that our money is spent wisely and attempt to rid the budget of any excess waste while attempting to keep our taxes as low as reasonably possible. I am a proponent of low taxes while providing businesses tax incentives to come to Elmhurst. I would also look into the possibility of tax incentives for residents who spend their money at Elmhurst Businesses.
- Schools – There are a couple issues with the school systems that need to be addressed over the coming years. The one most urgent is related to Covid 19 as I stated previously. I believe a lot of the parents are in favor of having their children go to school In-Person, which is what I am certainly in favor of, having three children in school myself. I know that the teachers have so far done an outstanding job of juggling their teaching with following the Covid guidlines while trying to learn how to do everything via the internet and attempting to maintain the attention of small children, as well as the older ones, at their homes. Obviously the main concern is with the physical health of all those involved, but I feel that it is so important for our children’s mental health and development to have social contact with the teachers and other students, and to obtain everything they can from their education, which is much better In-person. I believe that parents who feel comfortable sending their children to school In-person, should be able to do so, and those who do not, should be able to keep them at home with the support and assistance from the city. I feel the same for any teachers who fall under the high risk categories. I believe that the vaccine should help to make this process more sustainable and will put even those at high risk back into full teaching capacity. The second issue with the schools is the need for more school buildings due to the increasing amounts of children in Elmhurst and for further improvements to the existing schools. While these issues have been and are currently being addressed by the city, I think it is very important that we proceed with caution in regards to spending and raising taxes on residents to pay for all of this. A thorough in depth look should be taken of all possible options before putting even more of a burden on the residents.
Our country and our city have become increasingly divided over the past decade. This is a growing problem and concern of mine. I see it in the news, I see it on social media, and I see it in the general way people are treating each other these days. I feel that in order to reverse this deterioration in our relationships and social fabric we need to find the Common Ground between us. We used to come to some type of compromise over issues in the past, but today it seems the only answer is one extreme or the other. In order to correct this and to seek compromise while actually getting issues resolved, we need to listen to each other. We need to keep dialogue open, any dialogue, in order really change things. I firmly believe that the only real way to open someone’s mind to different ideas is to openly discuss these ideas with them, to try and understand them, to find out how and why they think the way they do, and not to shut them down. I think dialogue and discussion lead to education and real thinking, which in turn leads people to compromising and solving the issues at hand. Finding Common Ground is the way to do this.