Selecting Candidates to Endorse


One of the most important functions of the VMA is to select candidates that support the mission and guiding principles of the organization to run for Village President, Trustee and Clerk offices. The VMA Selection process has been tried and true and has produced outstanding candidates who have served the Village with distinction. The process has been so successful that other organizations strive to emulate it. Before an election, the Vice President of Selections establishes a Selection Committee. Candidates are interviewed by the Committee and the Committee selects those individuals who, in their collective view, have the necessary skills, background and character to be a successful Village President, Trustee or Clerk. A slate of the successful candidates is formed and the VMA endorses that slate.


Prospective candidates exhibit their interest by submitting a candidate application. The Selection Committee provides the prospective candidate with written materials that addresses the Council/Manager form of government and the structure of government in Oak Park. Thereafter, the prospective candidate appears for an interview before the Committee, where questions are posed. After all candidates are interviewed, the committee may request that a candidate return for an additional interview. Finally, the Committee evaluates the prospective candidates and arrives at a consensus of the best qualified candidate(s) to run as VMA-endorsed candidates.

Selection Committee

The Vice President of Selections presides over a recruitment committee that works throughout the year to recruit and refer interested candidates to the Selection process. At an appropriate time in the fall, the VP of Selections establishes and convenes a Selection Committee composed of members of the VMA. The selection process occurs in the late summer and fall prior to a Village election. Interested candidates are interviewed by the Committee (or sub-committee), and a committee of the whole then selects individuals whom they believe possess the necessary qualifications to become a Village President, Trustee or Clerk. A slate is then formed and endorsed. At this time the Selection Committee becomes dormant until the next election cycle.


Candidates for Village President, Trustee or Village Clerk must be residents of the Village of Oak Park and must be registered voters. We also require that they become members of the VMA and broadly support the guiding principles of the organization. Candidates come to the Selection process through various avenues: they may have served on a volunteer Commission or on the Board of another taxing body, they may have volunteered with one of the various civic, social or business organizations in the Village, or they may merely be residents of the Village that have involved themselves as informed students of local government and of the issues facing the Village. Some candidates may have been referred by the standing recruitment committee of the VMA, although that is not a prerequisite. The successful candidates that make up the slate, with assistance by the VMA, establish a party under whose auspices they will run. The party then develops a platform independent of the VMA.


The campaign kicks off once the slate is endorsed and the affiliated party is created. The campaign generally runs until the spring, with the election date usually in early April. Many VMA members host “coffees” for the endorsed candidates during campaign season so that they can meet and greet other residents of the Village. VMA-endorsed candidates participate in other local political forums and events and engage in other community outreach activities.