Boutet back in the race

Decision inspired by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Village Trustee Simone Boutet has officially reentered the race for village president, backtracking on her earlier decision to drop out of the running to pursue a business opportunity in Washington state.

In a video posted to Facebook late Tuesday, Sept. 22, Boutet announced her change of mind, saying, "I have a surprise for you all – guess what! I'm back in the race."

Community support after her announcement she would not run greatly influenced her decision, according to the short video.  

"You guys have overwhelmed me with votes of confidence, compliments on how trustworthy you think I am and calls for me to get back in the race," Boutet said.

Boutet cited the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as her inspiration to resume campaigning.

"I could literally live a life of sunshine and babies, but upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, what I realized is her message – live your values until the day you die," Boutet said.

 In the video, the trustee and former assistant village attorney said she was "worried" about the Oak Park community, its future and a litany of issues it faces.

"We have to deal with racial equity, we have to deal with environmental challenges, we have to deal with the COVID economic recovery in our business districts," Boutet said. 

Gaining the public's trust in its government through "transparency," "inclusion," "accountability" and "doing things in the public's interest" was what is most important to her, she said.

"With those values in mind, I am happy to say I'm back," Boutet said.

Boutet rounded out her announcement asking for the Oak Park community's help and assistance to get her elected village president in the April 2021 race.

"I need you to volunteer for me; I need donations; I need you to work with me; I need emotional support; I need your ideas," she said. 

In a follow up interview with Wednesday Journal, Boutet acknowledged her decision may come as a shock as she announced her intentions to drop out of the running a mere two weeks ago.

"You have the right to go, 'What the heck is going on?'" Boutet said.

Boutet's plan was to open a bed and breakfast with her son and stepdaughter in Washington State's San Juan Islands archipelago. Her original intention was to have a large role in its opening and operation. Boutet is now only an investor in the new hospitality venture.

In her earlier plan, Boutet said she would maintain her home in Oak Park but travel to Washington State for extended periods of time to work on the business.

She reiterated that the support and encouragement she received from people in the community, as well as the work of Bader Ginsburg, as the reasons behind her reconsideration. 

Boutet said she believes she is the best person to take over as Oak Park's village president and mayor. 

"I have the feeling that I am the most competent because of all the history I have," said Boutet, who previously served for 12 years as assistant village attorney and for two as interim village attorney.

She is joined in the race by local activist Cate Readling and Village Clerk Vicki Scaman, who began collecting signatures the night Boutet released her Facebook video.

Boutet's announcement, she said, has been met with great enthusiasm by Oak Park citizens.

"You know, people are ecstatic," she said. "People really want me to do this."

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Reader Comments

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George Irving Thompson  

Posted: September 26th, 2020 8:52 AM

Robert Milstein, I agree that Simone should be evaluated on more than one decision and character trait, but I find it humorous how your remarks suggest one indecisive action on her part is not in fact indecisive :-) . I think one should be able to agree it was indecisive and move on to further evaluate her past actions, past policies, and future asperations. I endorsed Simone for trustee when she ran in the past because I liked her policies and thought she would be a pit bull to pursue those policies. Honestly I haven't monitored local politics all that much since that time, but from what I have read in the papers I find myself mostly supportive of her positions and could support her again. However, I also have interfaced with Simone as a community activist in the past when she was an acting village attorney . She was not universally respected within the halls of the village at that time. So while I think she could be a great candidate for trustee, I have reservations about her temperament for village president as at times in the past she has been too forceful in pursuing her own agenda and also in her interactions with me. Admittedly, I am a friend of Vicki Scaman and have worked with her as a political activist as well as other activities, and so I have a natural bias to support her due to my experiences with her. I have always found her as having integrity, hard working, cooperative, unselfish, accomplished, and dedicated to the village. I look forward to hearing more from both candidates in the future and respect both of their past efforts to serve the village.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: September 26th, 2020 2:05 AM

Kevin Peppard I do not think Oak Park is at the level of national politics and requires fear stirred up like the Countries current leader offers. I think each candidate for Village President should get an opportunity to present their reasons why they want to be Oak Park's new Village President. We should expect that much as tax payers. Regarding a male slipping in to the position of Village President, I do not know of any male running unless you are possibly thinking the current Village President which I think tax payers would want him to convince why he deserves a 3rd term. Oak Park needs to think are their pocketbooks better off now or could Oak Park do better and that needs to be up to the candidates to convince who can serve the citizens of Oak Park best

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: September 26th, 2020 1:35 AM

Robert Milstein I do not base my decisions just from one persons decision and I thought Simone was a good choice for Village President although lawyers I know and have known work on sound thinking before making a decision.. It took planning before moving to the North/West and it really is none of any ones business what happened so maybe you can mention some of the other decisions we can evaluate. I know the Village Manager was on her way to Ann Arbor and it did not work out and now she is happy to be in Oak Park. With so many things going on in politics I think some times politicians think citizens do not think and can be kicked around. Maybe the current political climate has made me a bit more cynical. For Oak Park, this is a very important race for who will be the next Village President and each candidate has to convince the citizens of Oak Park. what they can do for Oak Park

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2020 5:47 PM

Trustee Boutet should be evaluated for her decisions across topics not based on one decision. Her experience as a as an Assistant Village Attorney and her experience on the Board, make her a great candidate for Village President. She is intelligent, well versed in local and state laws and even tempered. The current Board needs a strong individual to keep them focused. As to judging her to be indecisive...nope...she left the race for a rational reason and she rejoined the race to give voters a chance to evaluate her ideas for Oak Park.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: September 25th, 2020 3:20 PM

Boutet and Scaman are in danger of splitting the moderate vote and letting leftist Readling slim through. One should run for Trustee instead. They can flip a coin. Or a male may run against three women and glide into the Presidency.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: September 25th, 2020 1:33 PM

George Irving Thompson I am in agreement regarding Vicki Scaman to be the next Village President I have asked many people and everyone has said Vicki Scaman is a very honest and dedicated to making Oak Park better That is difficult to think honest when it comes to politics although it may be possible that Oak Park really needs a change in the way government works in Oak Park I hope we hear more about Vicki Scaman since I have tried to learn about as many candidates as possible who want to take on the position of Village President Not to imply anything wrong against Simone, who I did think was a good choice although with this back and forth problem there seems to be a lack of real devotion to politics in Oak Park It recalls the time when Ross Perot was running for President and had to drop out for mysterious reasons and he seemed like he could have won I hope that the Wednesday Journal will interview all candidates for Village President so we can learn more about each one

George Irving Thompson from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2020 12:12 PM

Vicky Scaman is certainly well qualified to become village manager and is generally well regarded. I personally think Simone Boutet has been a good and enthusiastic trustee, but I believe Vicky has a better temperament to be the lead representative on the village board. Simone's exit and re-entry does show indecision on her part and could come across as publicity stunt. Maybe its because I'm not a lawyer, but I don't get the connection between GInsburg's life as a judge being an inspiration to run for a village office which is not a judicial role. Simone also has had a tendency to have both high profile detractors as well as enthusiastic supporters.

Teresa Omert from Oak Park  

Posted: September 24th, 2020 7:14 AM

I might have voted for her before she voted for that monstrosity to be built on Madison and Gunderson. The Village planning committee voted unanimously against it, the neighbors know it's too big, and it goes against several village zoning codes, the 2014 Madison plan and many stated village values. Obviously she does not listen to the people

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 23rd, 2020 10:01 PM

That depends on how much more competent she is that the "bar," MacMillan. It's relative, not a set difference.

Leonard Grossman  

Posted: September 23rd, 2020 9:16 PM

This is great news in a bad news week. Bravo.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: September 23rd, 2020 4:53 PM

Being more competent than what is running now is a pretty low bar to hit.

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