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Third Elmhurst Alderman Kicks Off Campaign for Mayor

Crowd at Angelo's Tuesday promised to support 1st Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf in her run for mayor.

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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Jim Court December 13, 2012 at 07:01 PM
What a great field of candidates. I may have a preference but it is nice to know that Elmhurst will continue to move forward. I love all of the new homes being built in these troubled economic times. It says much about our wonderful community. Constant improvement is a very commendable goal.
Jim Court December 14, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I am absolutely amazed and bewildered by the lack of response or engagement in those things that make a significant impact in our lives such as the direction of our community. If this was a poll about a recipe, the Bears, or some mundane items the commentary would be filled with comments. Our priorities seem to be amiss.
Sol Fiske December 14, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Amen Peggy. Thanks for keeping it real regarding Gutenkauf.
PL December 14, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I love it when middle aged white suburbanites try to go all street. "keeping it real", that's funny. Agreed with PS. I'd add a 3rd point, the vast majority of Elmhurst residents are very happy with the city and how it's run. It's not perfect, but overall, we have a fine city, mostly great services and elected officials who care. Now that Dicianni is gone, I can't look at any one of them and think "self serving" like I did Dicianni. Morley wins going away.
RobertAWilson December 14, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Peggy, so you believe that badgering bully Pat Wagner should get a pass for his behavior?
Jim Court December 16, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Morley knows marketing, a big advantage. I have not followed him enough to be absolutely sure about him. He is obviously intelligent, always a strong positive. Diane has displayed independence and I believe her comment was borne of frustration and passion and would not weigh strongly on that incident. Passionate people respond passionately. Mr Mullinar ( I know I am spelling it wrong) has deep experience and is a very decent human being that is very ethical. Being Mayor is a very demanding job and the pay is a pittance. I wish we had a Mayor who could receive sufficient salary to address this as a full time job. Peggy, sadly you are right about these blogs. Until the Patch is willing to tackle the issues instead of being pretty much an apologist for the status quo and interject opinions that question rather than just cheer lead, the public will remain apathetic. I respect Karen very much but I do think that those who are conservative might play it safe. I do not want conflict but a simple willingness to be a little more provocative and opinionated.

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