SSIP Candidate Questionnaire Trustee Candidate
Name: Mary Helen Reyna de Parsons Age: 46
Immediate Family: I have been married to my husband, John Parsons, for almost 14 years. We have lived in Bolingbrook for 10 years and are the proud parents of Grace, age 7.
Current Occupation: Licensed Attorney since November 2006. Solo practitioner since April 2007 at Reyna Law Office, P.C, Bolingbrook, Illinois. My practice is focused on immigration and naturalization law and other practices such as family, traffic and criminal matters which may impact immigrant families.
Why have you decided to run for election/reelection in the Village of Bolingbrook Trustee race?I have lived in Bolingbrook for 10 years now. I have supported our current Mayor in past elections. However, I was one of over 1,000 people who signed a petition asking Mayor Claar to stop Donald Trump’s visit to our Village. I made that request because Mr. Trump’s rhetoric had been inappropriate and divisive. I felt that he did not reflect the views of the majority of our diverse community. When the Mayor persisted with the Trump fundraiser at the golf club, despite our pleas, I felt that he no longer represented me or the community I represent. I feel an obligation to stand up and be the voice for the many in our community who are productive, decent neighbors, parents and co-workers. We deserve an administration that will listen and act on the needs and wishes of our residents without making a large part of our community feeling disenfranchised and disrespected.
What project most needs to be completed in Bolingbrook? And how would you work to ensure the project is actually finished and done well? First and foremost, we have a $3,000,000 debt that needs to be addressed. When asked about a plan to tackle this debt, the Village responded saying there is no plan. I would make sure that each and every line item of our Village finances is reviewed and audited. What do we do in our own homes when we are in debt? We have to cut back on non-essential items and, at the same time, look for other streams of income that have been overlooked in the past. Our residents are concerned about a property tax increase and I am too. I intend to explore all options and suggestions when it comes to overcoming this issue and talking about it with our neighbors to find a viable solution for a long-term plan to bring our debt under control.
Coming in a close second to projects that need to be completed in Bolingbrook, is creating a culture of education. I have spoken to many voters in the last several weeks and months. They have expressed their concern about our schools. Teachers have expressed concerns about the burden placed on them by the state and parents to teach their children. I would like to create a taskforce in the Village of Bolingbrook to work with parents, educators, students and organizations to make education a priority in Bolingbrook. It has already been shown through the successful Parent Mentor Program sponsored by SSIP that this can be done. We need to support our parents so that they, in turn, can support their students in and out of the classroom. I would look to work with a diverse taskforce so that together we can develop ideas on how to engage families.
Bolingbrook is very diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, 20.4% of Bolingbrook residents are African-American, 24.5% are Latinos, 11.4% are Asians, and 41.7% are white. What will you do to ensure Bolingbrook remains a diverse community and welcoming to people of all backgrounds?
These numbers sound like our daughter. As many of you know, I am Mexican-American. My husband is, well, African-American, German, Polish, Irish, English, Nigerian and so many more. Bolingbrook represents what America looks like. I don’t classify my daughter as Hispanic or Black. She is an American that proudly resides in Bolingbrook, Illinois. She was invited to and belongs to a Girl Scout Troop based out of DuPage AME Church, a predominantly black institution and she sees no difference. Her classroom is diverse and she respects and loves everyone just the same. We should take lessons from children that make everyone feel welcome with their friendship, invitations to share, opportunities to learn about each other, and respect for our various beliefs and religions.
What differentiates you from other candidates running for this seat? I am running for office and looking for the support from the entire community of Bolingbrook so that I can continue to support them. I have been actively involved supporting the Latino community and immigrant community for the past 5 years. I have volunteered my services as an attorney for citizenship workshops, DACA workshops, know your rights workshops and community meetings concerning temporary driver’s licenses. I have also actively volunteered my time to the Jamie McGee PTO.
Outside of politics, what are some of your other interests? My husband and I try to make family time as much as possible. We spend our free time watching soccer games, swimming, selling Girl Scout cookies, going on beach vacations, going out to fabulous Bolingbrook restaurants and doing anything that will enrich our daughter’s life.
Why should people vote for you in this race? Those who know me best find it surprising that I am running for Village Trustee. I do not plan on being a career politician. I believe in term limits. I believe in education. I want to make a difference and be a link to the community. I’m approachable and take the time to investigate different sides of a single issue.