Trustee Candidate Ulrich 'Represents' Skokie
Twenty or 30 years ago, a candidate like Ilonka Ulrich likely would have never been able to run for village trustee, she said. But time has changed things, and the Skokie resident is excited to run this April.
Spend a few minutes with Ilonka Ulrich and you'll realize she's juggling a dozen things at once. Ulrich, who is a single mom, lawyer and of Latin-American descent, said the political world would have "never considered a person of my status running for village trustee 20 or 30 years ago."
Ulrich is one of six Caucus Party candidates running for village trustee on April 9. All in all, there are nine contenders, with the other three running as Independents.
"You have four women running and that just shows the progression of the Caucus Party," Ulrich said. "I think the mayor is very progressive and conscientious in who is choosing to run with him."
Ulrich moved to Skokie from West Rogers Park about 11 years ago, when her son was only two. She said she chose Skokie because of the community and quality of life.
"I was single at the time and I found a community that fit with where I want to live," she said. "The schools played a role in my decision and the park district, as well."
Ulrich is currently a board member with the village's Zoning Board. In the past, she volunteered to represent battered woman in the courtroom. Now, she's a worker's compensation and personal injury attorney.
"My job is to come up with decisions that [are] fair and considerate with businesses," Ulrich said. "Some of the things I did was figure out how to save a business money, how to protect them against insurance fraud and avoid penalties"
Ulrich on Skokie's short, long-term goals -
"I think the major concern right now - besides reducing crime - is the economy," she said. "I think we need to [attract] more businesses to Skokie with [plans like] tax incentives.
"I'm a big proponent of small business," Ulrich added. "It's better to have a lot of small businesses because those owners have a sense of community; a lot of people that own businesses in Skokie live in Skokie. They have more of an incentive to do well."
Ulrich also said growing the Illinois Science and Technology Park (ISTP) with additional businesses would be beneficial to the community.
"A lot of ISTP workers commute to their workplace," Ulrich said. "They frequent the restaurants near the Science Park and now they're moving here because they like what they saw. And I would like to encourage that."
As for Skokie's long-term goals, Ulrich said she wants to address residential concerns - such as street resurfacing and getting the many different cultures in the village involved with the community.
"There are so many people moving here that were not born in the United States," Ulrich said. "I think having a community, where they can interact with the government, where they feel like they matter, is important.
"I'd like to see Skokie continue becoming more green. I feel it is vital to its long-term goals," Ulrich added. "We have recycling programs, planting of trees - I'd like to see all those initiatives grow. [Also,] making people more aware of how to become more green and giving businesses incentives for having environmental awareness."
Should Skokie hire more police?
When it comes to crime, Ulrich believes the problem can be solved through other means besides hiring more officers.
"If we were to hire 20 more officers, who is going to pay for that? It is a lifetime or 30-year goal," Ulrich said. "It is a lot of money. Now, that doesn't mean I don't want to see the hiring of more police officers, but I think there's better ways to go about it."
Some of the ideas Ulrich mentioned was having a discussion with the community on installing cameras at troubled parks, creating specialized police task forces and opening police satellite locations.
"I think using the old police station as a satellite location would be a good idea," Ulrich said, referencing the old police station at 8350 Laramie Ave. "I also think it would be a great idea to cut in some areas to hire more police officers - or juggling new technology to make [their hiring] less expensive. I am not against getting more officers. I am very in favor of getting more officers."
Ulrich said she is really excited for the upcoming April elections, adding that the Caucus Party just opened its campaign office last Monday.
"I think I'm a unique candidate," Ulrich said. "I am Skokie. I represent the ethnic communities. If I were to hire somebody I would hire a single mom, because they are very self sufficient. I volunteer in my community, find time to spend with my son doing homework - those things mean everything to me."
Read more: See our other candidate profiles here