BRADLEY — Lori Gadbois, a former 16-year Bradley trustee and the recently re-elected Kankakee County Recorder of Deeds, announced her candidacy for Bradley’s top elected post.
Gadbois is running under the newly formed Bradley Citizens United Party and will seek the office occupied by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Watson in the April 6 municipal election. Watson became mayor pro tem following the resignation of former Mayor Bruce Adams in April 2019.
Touting regionalism — rather than isolationism, which she believes the current administration is pushing — Gadbois announced her intention before a socially distanced audience Thursday at the Quality Inn & Suites in Bradley.
“In the past 20 months or so, our village has not been transparent — they are not working in tandem with the surrounding communities of the county as a whole,” she said.
Instead, she said, the village is threatening lawsuits.
By not being willing to cooperate, she said, Bradley is removing itself from any regional opportunities.
“We are up for sale, an island where the current administration would prefer to put up a wall around the village rather than to work together. Is this what you want?” she said.
“In times like these, our communities need to be united, not divided. We need to leverage partnerships for the benefit of Bradley families,” she said. “We should not be burning bridges. We need to restore respect and integrity.”
Bradley Citizens United was created, she said, because there are many people with the same belief that more can be accomplished together. As recorder of deeds for the county, Gadbois is a Democrat. During her 16-year trustee tenure, she was also a Democrat.
“We are a collective group of individuals who may have identified in the past with a particular political party but because we put our community before our politics, we want to be Bradley Strong, Bradley Proud again.”
Petitions for Gadbois and the entire Citizens United slate are to be filed with the village clerk between Dec. 14-21.
Running on the ticket along with Gadbois are trustee candidates Bob Redmond, a longtime Democratic village trustee, former longtime Bradley police officer Jeff Hackley, and Milner Media consultant Ericka McGrath. Bourbonnais Township Park District commissioner and Bradley Planning & Zoning Commission member Clark Gregoire is running for village clerk.
Gadbois, 57, a 32-year village resident who resides on Old Farm North Court, was defeated in her re-election bid in April 2019 for her fifth year on the village board. She noted she had been contacted since summer 2019 about seeking office. She noted this summer she had been approached by people she described as “regional partners” about running for the office.
She committed to make a run for the office in early November.
“This is not a Democrat or Republican thing. We need to change. We need to get people involved,” she said.
Even though she holds a county-wide office, the mayor’s position provides no conflict, meaning she can hold both offices at the same time.
Gadbois said communities working only for themselves rather the greater good of the region is the wrong approach.
“I have always said this: when another community hosted something or maybe had a special event, Bradley was always going to win, too. We were the ‘Core of the County,’” she said, citing Bradley’s dominance with retail, lodging and dining options. “This was the example of how regionalism worked.”