Four Women Sworn In as Newest Park District Commissioners

May 14, 2021
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Four new Naperville Park District commissioners took the oath of office at the park board meeting last night – and all four of them women.

Four New Women on the Board

Mary Gibson, Allison Thompson, Leslie Ruffing, and Rhonda Ansier were sworn in together before immediately taking their seats as commissioners.

After years of having just one woman on the board, Commissioner Marie Todd, women now make up a majority.

“For a very long time and still in the majority of the country, men are the ones that are usually running for government positions and getting those positions,” said Ansier. “Now a lot more women are running and getting those positions as well. So we’re kind of finally getting our seat at the table to really get our ideas out there as well and show we’re just as capable as anybody else.”

Ruffing noted that all four new commissioners are also mothers of young children.

“We bring to that a really unique perspective,” she said. “We’re the ones setting our alarms at noon for soccer signups and taking our children to gymnastics and taking them to concerts in the park. So I think that perspective is going to be really a great thing.”

Excited to Get to Work

And all four said they’re excited to get to work.

“I am really excited about environmental issues,” said Gibson. “We have so much green space and it’s just so important to be good stewards of that. So I’m really excited to be having that perspective when I evaluate any issues that come before us.”

“I really believe the park district has a great opportunity to bring the community together through play and recreation,” said Thompson. “I think that we have the opportunity to really have cultural diversity, neurodiversity in our programming.”

Recognizing Outgoing Commissioners

The newcomers replaced outgoing commissioners Bobby Carlsen, Bill Eagan, Mike King, and Mike Reilly, who also received recognition for their years of service on the board.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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