Touting her experience as a City Council member and her commitment to the residents of Elmhurst, 1st Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf officially kicked off her campaign for mayor Tuesday night at Angelo's before a crowd of more than 60 people.
"Elmhurst deserves elected representatives who understand our community and want to give back," said Gutenkauf, an Elmhurst resident since 1993 and alderman since 2007.
Gutenkauf, the third Elmhurst alderman to throw a hat in the ring for mayor, said Elmhurst needs a leader who understands the community, spends carefully and places residents first.
"I will be that mayor," she said.
She said in a phone interview Wednesday that in addition to her track record of focusing on the day-to-day issues of the city, like parking, traffic and safety, she also has worked toward government transparency and curbing wasteful spending.
"I want to make sure we have ongoing communication with residents," she said. "It's really important to keep people informed on key issues. We need to do a much better job with that, and that's something I'm really committed to."
Gutenkauf said she had been considering a run for mayor since former Mayor Pete DiCianni announced he was running for DuPage County Board. He was elected to the District 2 seat in November.
"It's so important to take on this sort of civic responsibility and give back to the community," she said.
Gutenkauf, who is director of the nonprofit Robert R. McCormick Museum at Cantigny Park, said volunteering for any public office can be challenging from a time-management perspective, but her career will complement her efforts as mayor because both positions depend on civic engagement.
"I work for a major Chicago nonprofit that has a civic mission and values civic engagement," she said. "That is a tenet of everything we do."
She also said her interest in conservation dovetails into the city of Elmhurst's stormwater management challenges.
"A community like ours needs to be looking at every option," she said.
More background information on Gutenkauf, as well as her top issues, can be found on her new website.
Guests at Gutenkauf's campaign kickoff included former aldermen Moira Moriarty, George Szczepaniak, Ann Tranter and Pat Shea, and current aldermen Norman Leader, Paula Pezza and Michael Bram. Most of the attendees were citizens, she said.
"The people who were there were voters, residents, citizens," she said. "They care about Elmhurst.
"I see the support of the community behind me, and I've gotten lots of great, supportive comments about how people are willing to volunteer and help do all the things this campaign is going to require. They are people from all over town who pay attention to local politics and want to support a candidate they think is going to represent them."
Aldermen Steve Morley and Mark Mulliner announced their intent to run for mayor earlier this year. The municipal election will be held April 9.
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