Wilmette, Elections

The Record interviews Wilmette president candidates on pandemic, local business, inclusion, more (VIDEO)

Two Wilmette trustees are squaring off for the village presidency that will be vacated by two-term Village President Bob Bielinski.

The race between first-term trustee Joel Kurzman and second-term trustee Senta Plunkett will be decided by the voters on April 6.

For more information on ballot items and voting resources, check out The Record’s election Starter’s Guide.

Both Kurzman and Plunkett sat down virtually with Joe Coughlin, the editor in chief of The Record North Shore, for an interview to talk their respective platforms, the Village Board’s response to the pandemic, commercial vacancies and economic development, recreational cannabis sales, inclusion and equitability, and more.

Watch recordings of those interviews below.

Candidate profiles of Senta Plunkett and Joel Kurzman are available thanks to the League of Women Voters-Wilmette and its Election Guide 2021, which also held a candidate forum, a recording of which can be found HERE.

Plunkett, a 17-year Wilmette resident, is in the middle of her second, four-year term as village trustee. She is an attorney, who worked as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago. Prior to serving as trustee, Plunkett volunteered with local schools and served on Wilmette’s historical preservation commission and board of police and fire commissioners.

To read more about Plunkett, visit her website: SentaPlunkettForWilmette.com.

Kurzman, a 16-year Wilmette resident, was elected to the Village Board in 2017. He is a public policy professional who engages in government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Kurzman grew up in San Francisco and in his career has worked with schools and children on multiple fronts.

For more on Kurzman, visit his site: JoelForWilmette.com.

Kurzman’s campaign slogan is “Leadership for all of Wilmette,” and his platform features leadership, economic development, inclusion and roadway safety.

Plunkett is endorsed by the past two village presidents, Bielinski and Chris Canning, and the only other female Wilmette village president, Nancy Canafax. She also is prioritizing economic development, as well as environmental initiatives and the preservation of quality village services.

Plunkett highlights her role in the expansive and ongoing Neighborhood Storage Project that is meant to control stormwater, as well as leading the way on the 2018 law that pushed the Wilmette purchasing age for tobacco to 21.

Kurzman touts multiple marks on his local policy record, including as the only trustee to initially support the county’s ordinance to improve the minimum wage. He also made a successful introduction of a measure to prohibit the concealed carry of guns in establishments serving liquor. In his League of Women Voter’s profile, Kurzman criticized the Village Board for its “insular” behavior, which he said extends to community members.

Kurzman’s trustee term expires this year, while Plunkett’s extends until 2023. If Plunkett wins the village presidency, the board will appoint a trustee to fill her trustee seat.

The race for three Wilmette Village Board seats features two incumbents (Peter Barrow and Kathy Dodd) and three newcomers (Justin Sheperd, Kate Gjaja and Brian Locke).


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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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