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Monday, March 4, 2024

Be prepared to vote in nonpartisan Naperville Consolidated Election, watch public forum


Above / Council Chambers again featured a public forum for interested residents to meet candidates running to serve on the 9-member Naperville City Council. The third forum at 7PM on March 14 presented three candidates, Scott Wehrli, Tiffany Stephens and Benny White, running to serve as Naperville Mayor. Early in-person voting begins at the Naperville Municipal Center on March 20. (PN Photo Updated after 2023 City Council Candidate Forum Three) When available, videos of the three forums will be added to this post.

The third and final forum for Naperville Municipal candidates, hosted by the Senior Task Force and Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation, is slated to begin at 7PM, Tues., March 14, in Council Chambers. The forum will feature the three mayoral candidates running in the nonpartisan Consolidated Municipal Election to serve on the 9-member Naperville City Council.

After introductions and opening statements, moderator Pablo Araya will ask Naperville Mayoral Candidates (listed in ballot order) Benny White, Scott Wehrli and Tiffany Stephens to address 40 questions.

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More than 150 questions were received from the community. Many were provided to candidates in advance of the forum as a sample of what’s on the minds of voters. Forty questions, divided randomly into five sets, have been selected by the host committee for the evening’s Q&A.

Watch the March 14 forum held in Council Chambers in person or on WCNC Government Access Television (Ch. 6-Astound, Ch. 10 – Comcast, Ch. 99 – AT&T) “live” beginning at 7PM.

Council Chambers is located in the Naperville Municipal Building, 400 S. Eagle Street.

Public welcome to attend and watch ‘live’

This campaign button was passed down by Gertrude Mitchell, PN publisher’s grandmother. After graduation from Hillsdale College more than a century ago, she married, moved to a family farm and gave birth to nine children. The button reflects her faithful mission to educate her children and their children to cherish freedom by voting whenever possible. 

Organizers of the three public municipal forums appreciate every candidate’s preparedness and participation as well as the audiences for attending, listening and displaying their interest in the future of the City of Naperville.

Local residents who intend to vote in the nonpartisan Consolidated Election are encouraged to attend the forum where rules of forum decorum are the same as rules for Naperville City Council meetings: Respect for all opinions with no cheers, no jeers and no applause. No campaign signs and political messages are permitted in Council Chambers.

City of Naperville Mission: To provide services that ensure a high quality of life, sound fiscal management, and a dynamic business environment, while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.

Thanks to all who made three public forums possible

Gratitude is extended to Rob Williams, John Gallagher and members of the Senior Task Force for the inspiration to host this series of educational Municipal Candidate Forums. In addition, Bob Fischer and Dr. Bob Buckman from Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation have contributed their many years of experience with logistics and timing. Special thanks also to Mark Wright, moderator of the first two public forums.

KidsMatter volunteers again will serve as ushers to pass out programs.

The live broadcast would not be possible without much-appreciated help from the City of Naperville Communications Team and NCTV-17. Watch for the video to be rebroadcast online here later in the week.

Positively Naperville, printed monthly and digital daily, has been assisting to promote the three co-sponsored forums to introduce the community to qualified hopefuls running to serve 4-year seats as Mayor and City Council members. Click here for PN’s long listing of meet and greet events in March, videos of the first two public forums and other voter information.

Watch City Council meetings, workshops and other special events held in Council Chambers on WCNC Government Access Television (Ch. 6-Astound, Ch. 10 – Comcast, Ch. 99 – AT&T) “live.” 

Also, watch forums online at www.nctv17.org/naperville-election-2023-candidates.

—Stephanie Penick, Positively Naperville

Updated with photo after March 14 Mayoral Candidates Forum / Scott Wehrli, Tiffany Stephens, Pablo Araya and Benny White. Below is the video of the forum in its entirety.

NAHC and Senior Task Force Mayoral Candidate Forum

Meet Moderator Pablo Araya

Pablo Araya grew up in Naperville and attended K-12 in District 203 schools. He left for Naval Aviation Officer’s Candidate School in Pensacola after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree from North Central College in 1983.

Upon completion of AOCS, he returned to Naperville on a seven-day Leave Pass, and married Renae Gerig, someone he’d known since 1st grade at Highlands School. He earned his Wings of Gold in 1985 and reported for duty to Helicopter Squadron HS-12, aboard the USS MIDWAY (CV-41), based in Yokosuka, Japan. After 7.5 years in the Navy, Araya returned to Naperville where he worked for a Fortune 500 company before applying and being accepted into the FBI as a Special Agent.

Araya was fortunate to be assigned the Chicago FBI Field Office as his assignment, and remained in Naperville throughout his FBI career, raising three daughters only a few blocks from Highlands School.

He retired in 2015 after a 21.5 year career working Violent Crimes and Undercover cases. Upon retirement, Araya started his own investigative and security company, Squad 8-B Solutions, Inc.

He is a Past Commander of the Naperville VFW Post and continues to be actively involved in the Post’s current activities and fundraisers. For the past decade, Araya has organized the Judd-A-Thon .1K Fun Run every September to benefit the VFW National Home for Children in Michigan.

In 2020, after becoming empty nesters, Pablo and Renae Araya moved out to “the country,” but he still remains involved with the Naperville community through the VFW, lifelong friends and Positively Naperville, in which he writes a monthly column.

Naperville Senior Task Force

The Senior Task Force, established at the direction of the Naperville City Council in 2014, is helping address the unique needs of Naperville’s growing senior population. As of the most recent census figures in 2022 approximately 24,000 Naperville residents were over the age of 60, which accounts for just over 20% of the City’s population.

This group of 11 members, promotes coordination among existing senior service providers in the Naperville area; improves awareness among seniors of available resources to assist them; and develops recommendations to address service gaps related to transportation challenges, housing concerns and healthcare resources.

To ensure seniors’ needs are being met, the Task Force also works with service providers to promote efficiencies and new partnerships that address local needs. The group also proactively reaches out to seniors for their thoughts and ideas via interviews, workshops, focus groups and surveys. Regular reports are issued to the Mayor and City Council on the Task Force’s findings.

To learn more, review our section on the City of Naperville website under “Senior Services” where our quarterly newsletter, “Our Voice,” including past issues, can also be viewed. You can reach the Naperville Senior Task Force via email at seniortaskforce@naperille.il.us.

Look for “Our Voices,” a monthly column by Arlene Orr, in Positively Naperville.

Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation

Founded in 1979, the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation serves our community by providing the means to foster communication between homeowners, member associations, community leaders and government officials.

Through this communication, networking, and neighbors-helping-neighbors, the Confederation is the vehicle through which we, as homeowners and residents, can stay abreast of community affairs and generate a positive influence on our community’s future.

For more information, visit www.napervillehomeowners.com.

Originally Posted March 14, 2023 / Updated March 16, 2023.

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PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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