IADO Endorsement Questionnaire

1. Have you ever officially sought or held any elected or appointed governmental positions?

No

2. What is your path to victory? How much have you and will you raise for your campaign? What endorsements, either from elected officials or organizations, do you have?

Based on calculation of the averages of turnout for the last three municipal elections, the win number is ~5,000 votes. We’ve raised ~$2000 so far, and are looking to raise $15,000 in total. I’ve received an endorsement from The People’s Lobby, along with two other candidates in this race. Since we running for one of three available seats, our path to victory is to distinguish ourselves from other candidates running by pushing for the most progressive platform we can. It is time to fight for racial equity in Oak Park, and we believe that we have community support to do this.

3. What are the three to five issues/policies that are a part of your campaign platform and that you pledge to work on should you get elected to the office you are seeking?

  1. I am running on a racial equity platform, so that we can break down the systemic oppressive barriers that have created and maintained opportunity and economic gaps in Oak Park. If elected, I will use a racial equity lens to evaluate all policy decisions.

  2. I also pledge to create a village wide initiative to work on eliminating the opportunity gap present between white students and students of color in Oak Park.

  3. Additionally, equitable housing policies that set aside affordable housing units in new developments are an absolute requirement that must be met before any new development is finalized.

4. Obviously, the economy is always a major issue and there has been a lot of discussion on how to get it moving. What steps will you take to grow our economy and create jobs?

Governor Pritzker’s new executive order that has Illinois joining the U.S. Climate Alliance is a step in the right direction to creating a green economy in Illinois. Illinois needs to move to a green energy economy, and Oak Park is in a prime position and location to do it. Oak Park already has a healthy green-energy conscious electorate and village government, and we can work with local and state leaders to create green energy jobs throughout the state. Oak Park can also help grow the economy by supporting minority, women and veteran owned small businesses in our village.

5. There have been a variety of perspectives and reports on the state of gun violence. What specific policies would you support to reduce gun violence in the state of Illinois?

Gun violence in Illinois must be treated as a public health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. We need to reopen mental health centers, provide trauma care to gun violence victims, and reopen schools in disenfranchised communities. In order to address gun violence, we must address the root causes of inequity around the state. Once gun violence is treated like a public health issue, we can begin to treat the issue with a humane lens - one where the root causes of inequity, violence, and lack of community are addressed.

6. Chicago and Illinois is often referred to as the Midwest transportation hub for the entire nation. That said, there is no question that our infrastructure is crumbling and our transportation systems are outdated. As an elected official, what steps will you take to improve our infrastructure and make our city more transportation friendly?

In order to improve infrastructure and public transport in Illinois we must first
1. Close corporate loopholes in our current tax code,
2. Amend the state constitution and implement a progressive income tax, and
3. Pass the LaSalle Street Tax.
Doing these three things would provide the state with the money needed to invest in our infrastructure and public transport. We also must honor our commitment to keep public transport public and not give the Elon Musk’s of the world tax breaks to develop private transport systems that many illinoisans will not be able to afford.

7. What steps, if any, will you take to ensure that South Asian Americans have a strong voice in the political process? Will you advocate for more South Asian Americans to obtain positions in government? How so?

South Asians are a complicated group. We aspire to contribute at the higher echelons of society and at the same time, we actively contribute to upholding the systems of oppression that oppress people of color in this country. We have opportunity for impact at so many levels, yet before that is fully realized we must come to terms with our role in perpetuating white supremacy. We must recognize our role as South Asian Americans in the “model minority” myth, we must check our anti-blackness, and our support of current “respectability politics”, and we must step out of the way for more disenfranchised members of our community and society if they are running for the same seat.

Candidly, I believe there is a long path ahead for South Asians if we truly want to have political power in order to have lasting positive impact.  As a community, South Asians must come to terms with all of this before we elect yet another South Asian who will simply join the Democratic party for the “position in government” and not join in the fight for liberation.

8. Please name two specific actions that you would have handled differently than how the person(s) elected to the position you are seeking has handled them.

  • I would not have voted to allow developments in Oak Park that lack affordable housing.

  • I would have partnered with and listened to the Community Relations Commission to pass a racial equity policy so that we can start to systematically remove the inequities in our village.

Arti Walker-Peddakotla