Village Trustee Candidates Statements

Mae Brandon

I am proud to have served as your village trustee for the last two terms. This
is a Village that I love. I am committed to not only embracing traditions that
have made Park Forest nationally recognized, but also meeting the challenges
that we currently face.
As your trustee, I have played a major role in ensuring that Park Forest confronts
its challenges. We have weathered this difficult economic climate,
while many of our surrounding communities, with far more resources, have
not fared as well. Thanks to the Board’s efforts in strategic planning and
aggressive implementation, we now see improved infrastructure, new businesses,
including the return of a grocery store to Park Forest, upgraded housing
stock and partnerships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. We
are creating comprehensive plans to revitalize our parks and expand programs
for youth.
Our work is far from done. As your trustee, I am committed to meeting the
challenges of these unpredictable economic times in creative and exciting
ways. Our initiative for sustainability has received widespread interest. New
sources of outside funding have been identified, which means getting more
for less. So far, this funding has resulted in repaving roads such as Orchard
Drive, upgrading water mains, and enhancing police and fire services to ensure
the safety of our residents. With your support, I will work tirelessly to
expand and strengthen programs which enhance the quality of life of our
I am a champion for Park Forest. I am known as the trustee who constantly
seeks your ideas and solutions to problems we may face. Working together
brings strength to our efforts.
With your trust in me and your vote, I can continue this journey to build a
better Park Forest, a community in which we can, indeed, Live, Grow and

Tiffani Graham

My name is Tiffani Graham, I have lived in Park Forest for more than 30
years. I am a Rich East High School graduate and I loved growing up here. I
think that all children should have the opportunity to grow up in a village like
Park Forest. I felt safe and I always had something to do. They say it takes a
village to raise a child and I am a firm believer in that phrase because I feel I
was raised not only by my parents, but by a village as well; the Village of Park
I am deeply invested in the community, as a member of the Park Forest Youth
Commission, the Rotary Club, raising money for the restoration of the Wetlands
Observation deck, and also a part of the Park Forest Sustainability Committee.
One of the things that I am very proud as a Park Forest resident that
the Park Forest Youth Commission brought back the carnival last June. It was
wildly successful and is making a comeback this May.
My desire is to give back to the community by helping to steer our young
people in the right direction. I would like to see our community supporting our
youth in making them feel like they are citizens that matter. I want to work to
bring much needed business opportunities to the village, maintaining our
cultural entities and solving our housing issues of vacant and deteriorating
homes. I am the best candidate for the job because I am young and motivated
to bring changes to the community.

Gary Kopycinski

Dear Neighbor,

I am running for re-election as a Village Trustee in the April
7, 2015 election. With an already proven responsibility
representing the citizens of Park Forest, I am seeking another
term as a hard working Village Trustee. Making decisions on issues
based on facts, I am prepared for weekly board meetings, having already
familiarized myself with written material, seeking information from staff, citizens,
business owners, and state organizations, to make the best decisions
to represent the village properly. Always available to answer questions or
concerns, I return phone calls, emails, and walk door-to-door to keep in touch.
Serving as editor and publisher of eNews Park Forest,, I make
certain residents remain informed.
I love Park Forest: the people, the tradition, the history, the diversity, the
sense of community. An educator at Marian Catholic High School for 25
years, I remain dedicated to the citizens of Park Forest.
I want to see the good work we’ve started on economic development come to
fruition, and to continue to be a voice of fiscal responsibility on the board.
Throughout my tenure we have seen Orchard Drive, Lakewood Boulevard,
Sauk Trail, and more major thoroughfares resurfaced. Miles of water mains
have been replaced, along with thousands of feet of electric mains, and ancient
transformers have been replaced. We just opened a successful grocery
For the vast majority of our infrastructure improvements, we have secured
close to $35 million in grant money, allowing us to make incredible improvements
without adding to the tax levy.
I ask you for your vote on Election Day, April 7, 2015.

If you would like to extend further support by volunteering
or contributing to my campaign please call at 708-808-0204, visit my website at, or e-mail me at
Gary Kopycinski

Georgia O’Neill

Georgia O’Neill has served over eight years as a Park Forest Trustee and is
seeking reelection to that position.
As a 45 year resident of Park Forest, Georgia and her deceased husband
Marty raised three children in the village. Georgia has an extensive history
with Park Forest, having served as Executive Director for six years on the Park
Forest Chamber of Commerce and manager of two regional chambers that
served Park Forest – a total of 22 years of chamber of commerce management.
As a result of that long and dedicated career, Georgia is “tuned in” to
business needs. She will continue to apply her skills and understanding to the
Village’s economic development efforts. Georgia served as Liaison to the Park
Forest Economic Development Advisory Group for nearly all of her eight years
as Trustee.
Georgia also served as Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the
Centre of Park Forest for three years. In that position, she was instrumental in
engendering support and goodwill for the Centre among business, government
and community representatives. As a Trustee, those relationships will
continue to benefit the community.
In the 1990’s, Georgia served on the Villages’ Strategic Planning Task Force
and the Economic Development Advisory Group.
Georgia is a member of the Park Forest Historic Society’s Hall of Fame. In
1996, the Park Forest Jaycees recognized her as Citizen of the Year. Upon
receiving the award, she said “There are many blessings to be enjoyed while
living in Park Forest, but people are the most valuable blessing! Park Forest
people are loyal, proud, dedicated, intelligent and caring. I’m convinced that
there is no other place with residents possessing all those qualities!”
Georgia O’Neill has served Park Forest for 45 years and with your support and
your vote, she will continue to serve Park Forest!

Jon Vanderbilt

Jon Vanderbilt is a fourth generation Park Forest resident.
He and his wife Kathleen grew up in the Village,
and graduated from Rich East and Crete-Monee respectively.
Jon attended Millikin University, earning a Bachelor’s
degree in History, with a minor in Political Science.
E-News Park Forest states how Jon’s 30 years of experience as a lifelong Park
Forester has prepared him to represent the Village as Trustee.

“Jonathan has experienced what it is like to live in Park Forest as a child,young adult,
and now a married man. He has lived in the single family homes, rental units and now
resides in the Area B Cooperative. This life experience alone makes him uniquely qualified
to serve as a Trustee as he is intimately aware of the issues facing all in Park Forest regardless of age or what type of housing we live in.” (From eNews Park Forest)

Park Forest has a great tradition of having residents volunteer to serve in
various commissions and committees. Jon has volunteered on the Recreation
and Parks Commission, Mayor Citizen Advisory Committee, and has worked
with the Environmental Committee to start the Community Garden Commission;
where he was able to start a community garden on Algonquin Street
working with neighbors. He attends church at Sauk Trail Baptist Temple, and
serves in various outreach programs.
Park Forest is a great community to live, grow, and discover, but recent times
have been tough on the village. Though we’ve done better than other communities,
we the citizens are still struggling
If elected Jon will continue to work on solving the issues the village faces by:

  • continuing the sustainability plan
  • improving the tax burden on residents
  • lowering the crime rate in Park Forest
  • encouraging civic duty

Please visit for more information on the issues and how to