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Julianna Oh: Candidate For Skokie Park Board – Patch.com

Julianna Oh: Candidate For Skokie Park Board – Patch.com

SKOKIE, IL — Ahead of the April 6 consolidated municipal elections, Skokie Patch provided questionnaires to all candidates on the ballot for Skokie Park District Board of Commissioners. Four candidates, including one incumbent, are seeking a six-year term on the five-member volunteer board. The Skokie Park District is a separate taxing body from the village,

SKOKIE, IL — Ahead of the April 6 consolidated municipal elections, Skokie Patch provided questionnaires to all candidates on the ballot for Skokie Park District Board of Commissioners.

Four candidates, including one incumbent, are seeking a six-year term on the five-member volunteer board. The Skokie Park District is a separate taxing body from the village, with its commissioners responsible for its budget, property tax levy and executive director.

Skokie Patch is publishing all responses submitted by candidates verbatim and in the order they have been received.

Julianna Oh

Age (as of Election Day)

Town of Residence

Office Sought
Park board

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

Bachelor of Science, Biology/Chemistry, Major
Women’s Studies, Minor

Deputy Assessor

Campaign website

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Skokie parks district is all about enjoying our environment, learning a new skill, or interacting with others. There isn’t really a pressing issue when it comes to parks and recreation. However the biggest concern that they could focus on is how to help all our residents take advantage of all the fun available through the parks district. I would like to see more opportunities given to those that are not financially able to access programs, to those that are physically not able to get to parks Programs, and to those that need guidance with spending their time effectively. I would do my best to help provide cost savings to families in need. Help those understand what programs are available by helping change Park’s website be more user friendly to people whom English is not their first language.

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?

Black Lives Matter is one of the most important movement of our times. We have witnessed immeasurably horrific tragedies over several life times. I fully support recognizing the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and as a person of color there is nothing more that I want then to end racism. The protests that have occurred since the deaths of George Floyd was important to bring to light the injustices that are experienced by people of color. We need to stop racism. Period.

Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?

Of all the boards in skokie, the Skokie park district board is one of the most diverse boards to date. Currently two Asian women serve on the board, one of them being the first ever Cambodian woman to serve in any political office. I know that they are absolutely doing everything they can to support racial equality and I hope to join this great board to keep working on the fight for equality.

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?

I think because the response to the pandemic was so late, Americans have suffered longer than we should have. But we are moving towards a brighter future. Having a local health department in Skokie has been a great blessing to our residents. It’s not perfect and there are still people that have not been able to be vaccinated but the contrary of not having our own health department would have been far worse. I favor a better future of going back to “normal” and if that requires a little more sacrifice of not being able to eat inside restaurants or patronize non essential businesses then I think its important to sacrifice a little now to get back to our normal lives sooner and safely.

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?

Identifying parameters to help our local residents get the vaccine as fast and efficiently as possible is very important. Local government is the core of helping make those important decisions and its imperative to work together with other members of local government to effectively expedite vaccine distribution.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drums. I am a firm believer in reaching for your dreams. I believe I’m the only Asian immigrant and naturalized citizen on the ballot running for Skokie Park commissioner and because of the hard journey I overcame to get to where I am today I believe I am more able to respect and adapt to the ever changing facets of the changing world around us.

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 done a great job in helping Skokie Park District be one of the best parks program in the country. There’s not much you can say to argue what a great job they did. I see only two reasons why someone wants to join something, either because it needs improvement or because it is great and you want to be a part of it. I believe the latter in this case. I think the Park Board is great and that’s why I want to join them but I think it’s essential to add new perspectives and ideas and I hope to be the one to make that possible.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform

In a village of 90 different spoken languages it is imperative that we work hard to help those who’s first language is not English to understand all aspects of government bodies. All our tax dollars go towards these taxing bodies that are put in place to help the residents of the village. Accessibility of Skokie Parks programs need to be prioritized to help residents access the programs and parks. Help residents financially to pay for programs with discounts or grants but most importantly, everyone needs to be able to understand how to access the programs in the first place. Websites and program brochures needs to be accessible in languages as diverse as the members of our incredible community.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I was a business owner for 17 years. Making decisions that affect my business, employees, and community was my priority. I helped expand my small business and helped it grow within the community. My vast experience throughout the years as mentor, educator, and volunteer has given me a greater perspective on working with people of all aspects of life, with various disabilities, and people of all races. These experiences will help me handle the various situations that will come up in the Skokie Park Board meetings.

If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?

Since having moved to Skokie in 1990, I have seen Skokie park district grow leaps and bounds. There’s not too much to improve it. But one of my biggest hope is to help single parents, financially restrictive parents, and give an outlet to residents who are eager to learn something new or just be able to participate and engage with others. It would be a personal success to see more children access the wonderful programs available through the Skokie Park District.

Why should voters trust you?

Integrity and honesty is at the core of who I am. Culturally it is embedded in my Asian roots to do and be the best I can be. In this ever conflicting political climate it is understandable to question a candidate’s character. I also think it’s important to question a candidate’s character. I strive to do my best in every aspect of my life while surrounding myself with other like minded people. I hope voters can find solace in knowing that my intentions, my ethics, and my values are genuine and good to the core of who I am.

What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?

My current position as the deputy assessor of Niles Township has taught me an incredible amount of government processes especially in the handling of where our property taxes go. I work directly with the taxpayers that put money into our local taxing bodies and I feel even more compelled to make sure that their hard earned monies are getting used with the utmost care and best of intentions. It does not escape me how hard these last couple of years has been to all of us especially financially and its even more important that every taxing body prioritize government spending to put money right back to benefiting the hands that fed them.

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:

You never know a person’s “before” so treat them all with love and respect. You don’t know if the person you just met came from having just lost their job or a family member or has just received a traffic ticket or just received a bad medical diagnosis. You never know what a person just went through before your interaction with them so don’t take anything they say personally. They may be having a bad day and it happened just before your encounter so show everyone empathy and interact with kindness and don’t take things personally.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I would like the voters to know that I’m just another member of the community. My children attend Skokie schools and I work and live in Skokie. I want nothing more than to make my community better just like everyone else that lives in Skokie. I want the best for my children, family and my community. I want voters to know that I will represent them to the best of my ability if I’m voted into serving on the Skokie Parks board.

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