HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Ahead of the April 6 consolidated municipal elections, Highland Park Patch provided questionnaires to all candidates on the ballot. Six candidates are seeking three available seats on the Highland Park City Council. Only one of the three incumbents with an expiring term in office is running for re-election. Highland Park Patch
HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Ahead of the April 6 consolidated municipal elections, Highland Park Patch provided questionnaires to all candidates on the ballot.
Six candidates are seeking three available seats on the Highland Park City Council. Only one of the three incumbents with an expiring term in office is running for re-election.
Highland Park Patch is publishing all responses submitted by candidates verbatim and in the order they have been received.
Lori Flores Weisskopf
Age (as of Election Day)
Town/City of Residence
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
University of Missouri-Columbia
Communications 25+ years
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
Park District Commissioner
The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
While we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, the most pressing issue facing our City that the Council can address is assisting our local businesses to recover from pandemic-related setbacks. I have been meeting with local business owners and listening to their concerns. They have shared with me some ideas as to possible solutions. If elected to serve as a councilwoman, I would cultivate those relationships and share what I learned with the Council and city’s business development resources. This way we could work together to support our local business owners. This is the first step towards revitalizing our retail districts.
Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?
Yes, I support Black Lives Matter and the human rights and decency for all people. As a Latina woman, I understand the inequities many face daily. Beyond the fact that equal protection of the laws is clearly stated in the 14th Amendment, it is a moral movement. The most powerful and impactful demonstrations are the peaceful ones that do not detract from the message. We must, however, support our safety system and the officers who risk their lives to keep us safe. Open and continuous dialogue between our public safety officials and the community will help to foster a culture of trust and improved communication and services.
Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?
The most prominent display of a racial equality initiative in our community is our annual MLK Day of Service. The City partnership with the Park District and with participation from our School Districts educates and unites our residents with Dr. King’s vision of equality for all. The fact that this event has grown exponentially over 12 years, is a testament to the Council’s commitment to the equal treatment of everyone. Our City working with our schools should actively engage our community’s diverse minority families to make sure they feel welcome, represented and that their concerns are addressed.
What are your thoughts on the national and local coronavirus response? Do you favor measures such as limiting operation of non-essential businesses and restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a local mask mandate?
It is unfortunate that limiting operations during the pandemic harshly impacted local businesses and restaurants. It was done with the intention of keeping people safe, including the owners and employees of the businesses. That is why it is imperative that we all do what we can to help businesses recover from the impact of pandemic such as by shopping locally or ordering take out if you are not comfortable dining in. As for a local mask mandate, I do favor it. Many residents still await the opportunity to be vaccinated so I support a mask mandate until all residents feel safe.
What are your thoughts on the state and local coronavirus vaccine distribution, and how do you think local governments should work together to handle vaccine rollout?
The phased allocation has been enormously difficult for residents to receive. Stories of checking sites at midnight to schedule vaccinations are not uncommon. However, the vaccine rollout has advanced so that now teachers, essential workers and our older populations are receiving vaccinations. During this unprecedented time, challenges of distributing vaccinations are to be expected. In the meantime, the City has done an excellent job in providing COVID-19 updates via web alerts and information. The City and the Park District partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health and offered free COVID-19 testing at the Highland Park Country Club in February and will continue to do so as available by the State.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I differ from other candidates, in that I am a lifelong Highland Park resident and as a 10-year Park District of Highland Park Commissioner, have been involved in many community initiatives and projects, such as the award-winning Rosewood Beach, which have enhanced our community. I have valuable local government experience as a Park District Commissioner, and my unique professional communications background would be an asset to our City Council. I offer the balance of experience as an engaged resident, and as a twice-elected community representative and leader.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)
It is not about failure of the current Council; rather, it is about what I can offer that is not present on our Council. My perspective is one of various personal challenges and accomplishments which provide me with a unique overview and approach.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
Besides supporting our local businesses, my campaign platform is for providing for our aging residents, supporting services for our special needs population, protecting our green spaces and educating residents on affordable housing options. I also feel strongly about supporting our safety services, police and fire departments, and public works which impact our day-to-day lives.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
My work on the Park District’s 10-year multimillion-dollar strategic master plan saved the District thousands of dollars through proper planning and budgeting for future improvements. This can be seen in the successful on-budget renovations of the Recreation Center, Sunset Valley Golf Course and the conversion of the Highland Park Country Club into The Preserve of Highland Park. My leadership on the Rosewood Beach renovation project resulted in an award-winning destination spot for all Highland Park residents to enjoy. It required working with limited funds and entailed planning, collaborating with the City and many state agencies, and, most importantly, listening to residents’ concerns.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
If residents and local business owners felt heard and valued, I would consider my term in office a success. With effective communications and relationship-building, our efforts working towards the goal of bettering our community can be achieved.
Why should voters trust you?
I believe public office is a way to give back to my community. As a lifelong Highland Park resident, an engaged community volunteer and current elected Park District Commissioner, I know and love Highland Park. I have been active in the community in various roles at non-profit organizations long before I sought public office.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
My approach is to remember that the source of our local government’s funds are the tax dollars of my neighbors, friends, and myself. These are hard-earned dollars and should be managed with that in mind. Proper planning for the use of those funds is key. Transparency in how and why the funds are used makes it easier for community members to appreciate benefits gained from the use and the importance of their tax dollars.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was:
There is no limit to what you can do.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I did not seek reelection as Park Board Commissioner because I strongly believe that new members with new ideas are vital to the evolution of organizations, including governments and non-profits. It is that fresh perspective I want to bring to the role as a Highland Park City Councilwoman. I believe in strong communications and relationship building between our residents, business owners and the several local government bodies that serve our community. I want to build on our city’s solid reputation as one of the best communities on the North Shore. The tradition of generations returning to Highland Park makes us special. I am proud of our progressive and compassionate city.