OAK LAWN, IL — Kimberly Brightmore is a lifelong resident and a product of Oak Lawn’s public schools, attending Sward, McGugan and Oak Lawn Community High School. She is running for library trustee in the April 6 election. Brightmore is a math teacher at Marian Catholic High School and an avid user of the library.
OAK LAWN, IL — Kimberly Brightmore is a lifelong resident and a product of Oak Lawn’s public schools, attending Sward, McGugan and Oak Lawn Community High School. She is running for library trustee in the April 6 election. Brightmore is a math teacher at Marian Catholic High School and an avid user of the library. She is one of seven candidates vying for two seats on the Oak Lawn Public Library Board of Trustees. Terms for library trustees are six years. Early voting starts March 22.
Name: Kimberly D. Brightmore
Age (as of Election Day): 34
Town/City of Residence: Oak Lawn
Office Sought: Oak Lawn Public Library Board of Trustees
Party Affiliation (if a partisan race): n/a
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? No.
Education: I am a product of Oak Lawn education, having attended Sward, McGugan, and Oak Lawn Community High School. I hold an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, a master s in elementary education from Loyola University, and a second master’s in mathematics education from DePaul University.
Occupation: I am a high school math teacher at Marian Catholic High School. I have been a teacher for the past 12 years.
Campaign website: Brightmore and Begani for Library Board Trustees Facebook page
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: None.
The single most pressing issue facing our library and this is what I intend to do about it.
One of the most pressing issues facing our library board is the budget. The current board as decreased the budget, which makes it incredibly difficult for the library to continue to serve the community through its services and programming. I hope to help protect the library budget and help to ensure that the taxpayer money is spent wisely, especially during this difficult financial time.
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?
I believe that every single person has the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. Change happens in our country when people see wrongs committed and then stand up to address the injustices. There are many instances of racial injustice in our nation. One of the best ways to combat racial injustice is for people to learn about instances of it, so they can work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The library is a great place to start this learning!
Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?
I cannot speak to what the current board has or has not done to support racial equality. However, I do know that the librarians and staff work to create a welcoming environment for all. The staff at the library also plan programming to help educate the community on a variety of diverse topics and invite speakers to also dialogue with the community. If elected, I would ensure that programming designed to educated and inform the community on racial equality would continue.
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?
Oak Lawn and the surrounding communities have and should continue to follow the scientifically sound measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. The library staff have adapted its services and programming to keep all the patrons in the community 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?
I believe that the state has worked hard to roll out the vaccine to those most at risk and most in need. The local governments should cooperate and assist however possible with the state and county levels to ensure that all members of their communities receive the vaccine.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
What sets me apart from other candidates is that I am an educator first and foremost. I do not have any aspirations to climb politically. I seek to serve the library and protect what it contributes to our community. As an educator for the past 12 years, I am incredibly aware of how much our library is the backbone of our community. I bring a desire to help and serve our community of Oak Lawn in this way.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)?
The current board has made major budget cuts to the library’s budget over the past few years, including before the COVID-19 pandemic. While the current board believes they are helping the taxpayers, what they have failed to realize is that these cuts they have made to the library will essentially decrease and limit the services to the community that need to continue, most especially during a pandemic.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
I am running to help maintain and grow the library’s programming and services to the community. The library is an incredible place that all members of our community should take advantage of. I want to work with the librarians and workers who serve the community and find out what they need to continue to do their jobs. They are the ones on the front line, the people that interact with our community members on a daily basis. I believe that working with the staff will help the board to know and understand what needs to happen to make our library an even stronger force in the community.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I graduated from undergrad with honors, and I am no stranger to hard work. As a teacher, I deal with stress and difficult situations daily. I often need to think quickly on my feet, as well as adapt and change my plans on the fly. I am incredibly detail-oriented and a long-term planner. I multitask very well, and I tackle every single task with passion and dedication. I work well in groups, and I also am not afraid to stand-up for what I believe is right, even if others do not agree.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
My term in office would be a success if the library can maintain and grow its services and programming to patrons. I would like to see more of the community use the library and its services, as it has so much to offer. I do not want to see more budget cuts to the library, and I will work hard to make sure that the budget is strong and that funding for these incredible programs is maintained.
Why should voters trust you?
Trust in any kind of politics is difficult, but I can tell you that I am not a career politician. I’m a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mom. I am a teacher. I care about our community, and everything I have done in my life is because I am passionate about others. I have been raised to be honest, kind, and hard-working. I have always stuck to my values, so matter what, and I will continue to live my life in service to others.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
The library board is elected because it deals with money from the taxpayers. The board has a responsibility to the taxpayers. The board also has a responsibility to the Library and the community that it serves. Cutting budgets just to cut budgets is not servicing the taxpayers, as many of them rely on the services from the library. In these difficult and uncertain times, it is important for the taxpayer dollars to be spent responsibly. I will seek to make certain the library has enough funding to help our community during these difficult times, as well as in the future.
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:
My mother once said that “readers are leaders.” I have taken this advice to heart, and it has been the driving force behind much of my education, both formally and informally. I truly believe that the more education we receive, the better people we can become. Reading and learning take on many forms, whether it is from school, family members, books, documentaries, or listening to speakers. The library has always been that source of knowledge for me, and I wish to promote and share what our library has to offer with the community.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I have always been an avid user of the library, both as a child and now as an adult. As a child, the library, along with my mother’s encouragement, fueled my passion for reading, learning, and imagining. It’s always my default that when I don’t fully understand something, or I want to learn more, to head to the library. I am running for the library board to serve our library and our community. I want to give back to the institution which has been instrumental in shaping who I am. I want to make sure that my daughter and all children in Oak Lawn can experience the wonder and joy a library brings. I want everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, to be able to learn and grow in a place that encourages wonder, awe, and exploration.