Wilmette, Elections

4 candidates for 3 seats on Wilmette Village Board

The Wilmette Village Board of Trustees will soon have at least two new trustees, as just one incumbent is in the running for three available seats.

Gina Kennedy is seeking her second term on the board, while Gerry Smith, Stephen Leonard and John Kolleng are joining her on the ballot and are in search of their first full term.

Leonard was elected to the Village Board in 2017 but resigned in 2018 because of a change in his professional responsibilities. Smith and Kolleng each have experience with the board as well. Smith is currently the chairperson of the Human Relations Commission, while Kolleng is a past member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Each candidate was interviewed by The Record Editor in Chief Joe Coughlin and their responses were recorded and are available below. Questions are listed in the order they were asked, and the candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot. You can use the navigation tools below to skip to specific questions. You can listen to a candidate’s answers in order at these links: Gerry Smith | Stephen Leonard | Gina Kennedy (incumbent) | John Kolleng.

JUMP TO: Introductions | Community Accomplishments | Personal Strengths | Commitment to Village Board (Stephen Leonard) | Vacant Storefronts | Inclusivity Initiatives | Other Important Issues | Closing Statement

Why are you running for Wilmette Village Board?

Describe one or two things you are proud of from your time in public and/or community service

What unique characteristics do you possess that would be an asset to the Wilmette Village Board?

(For Stephen Leonard): After election to the board in 2017, you got a job with an increase in professional travel and then resigned as a trustee. If you were elected, can you discuss your stability in Wilmette and commitment to the Village Board?

Vacant storefronts — whether Treasure Island, Baker’s Square or in downtown Wilmette — have been a challenge to fill. Can more be done to address the vacancies? If so, what?

With improvements to the Human Relations Commission and affordable housing, the Village has taken recent steps to address diversity and inclusion. Is the Village doing enough in that space? What more can be done?

What are one or two other issues facing Wilmette that you hope to address if you are elected?

Closing statements

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This article was developed using publicly available information, such as press releases, municipal records and social media posts.

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