Julia McAleer-Forte said she is running for a spot on the Berwyn South School District D100 School Board to "be at the table to help plan a vision and a path to better success."
When McAleer-Forte and her partner Kerry moved to Berwyn with their two children 12 years ago, school scores were higher than in neighboring Oak Park.
"That's no longer the case," she said. "We've had significant issues with the state, as has nearly every school community has in Illinois.
McAleer-Forte is one of several LGBT candidates who will be on the ballot on the April 4 elections. Some of the contests were already decided in February primaries, among them the city clerk post, which was won by Ald. Marge Paul, who is a lesbian. Three members of the eight city council members will be LGBT as well. A gay man, Brian Brock, will also be running for a park district post April 4.
"We moved to Berwyn because we loved it," McAleer-Forte recalled. "We felt great about the community. We have roots here. I think [running for office] is one way to make it better."
Berwyn has a sizable LGBT population "and a lot of us have kids," she added. "My kids are older than those of many of the newer families coming in, but I would like that supportive groundwork to be consistent and represented on the school board. This is another part of diversity. This current school board is more diverse than it's been in a long time and if I'm elected, that's just another reflection of the community that we live in."
Some of the races were contentious in the primaries, and McAleer-Forte worked closely to help the winning campaigns for Paul and Jeanine Reardon, who will replace Paul on the city council. But McAleer-Forte said she and and her opponent, Darlene Yoder, committed to running nonpartisan campaigns focused on the issues at hand and funded their runsthemselves.
"Darlene and I are both very proud to say, 'If we're elected, we represent everybody,'" McAleer-Forte said.