By Mariano “Anong” Santos
".....‘Highly qualified’ Fil-Ams in Illinois’ April 4 elections"
A retired accountant for United Airlines, Ramos’ work with the large Filipino Catholic parishioners at Morton Grove’s St. Martha’s and his volunteerism with the local senior citizens caught the eyes of the slating officers of the local Action Party.
He initially was elected Village Clerk, which is considered as the most influential position in this village next only to the mayor.
LEFT PHOTO: FIL-AM KENNETH MANTEL FOR SKOKIE PARK DISTRICT COMMISSIONER, #113 BALLOT
Ramos does not take things for granted. Despite his popularity, he is working hard to get his whole team elected in their contested reelection bid.
“We’ve proven ourselves as capable leaders but we have to make our voters know that,” he said while passing around his party’s hand bills.
The third hopeful is 36-year old, Kenneth J. Mantel, who proudly identifies himself as a Filipino American who treasures the values that his inay has inculcated in him while he was growing up in the Village of Skokie. “Respect for others and helping those who don’t have much in life, these are just two of the lessons I learned from my Inay,” Mantel said while getting teary-eyed in an interview.
Kenneth’s mom, the former Tatiana Montoya, is highly enthusiastic about her son’s decision to seek one of the three open slots for the Skokie Park District Commission. Despite his 12-year experience in the various aspects of the park district, his bid to be an official candidate of the ruling Caucus Party was not granted.
Undeterred, he decided to run as an independent. His credential is impressive. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s in public service management from DePaul University. His volunteer work in youth athletics is solid and long.
As a father of four-year old twins, Kenneth is fully aware of the needs of the young people and he sees potentials in the park district services that can be used in enhancing the positive development of the youth. Mrs. Montel is certainly gung-ho on her son’s running. “Ken is so focused on what he can do for the village. Perhaps, he is the making of the first Fil-Am Mayor of Skokie,” she added with a smile.
All three candidates are confident of their qualifications and truly believe that they can make a difference in the lives of their respective communities. “As in my past running for elective positions, one benefit that we can all get from Filipino Americans running for office is that it motivates our community to get involved--there is an increase in voters’ participation and civic involvement. That alone is a victory,” said Ed Ramos.