Tony Arredia: Mr. Des Plaines

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IMG_6786At the age of 75, Tony Arredia is more active than many 20 year olds. It’s hard to keep up with him since he is always on a schedule. You can hear his Bridgeport childhood when he speaks. But his true hometown love is the northwest suburb of Des Plaines. So he’s running for mayor again.

After serving two terms as the mayor of Des Plaines, term limits prevented Tony from running again four years ago. I told him then he would likely get bored within days. At lunch last week he admitted I was right. I got to know Tony over a decade ago through mutual friends in Bridgeport and Chinatown. And I’ve had to interview him through the years due to the persistent flooding problems in Des Plaines.

Despite a higher paying position working with the Maryville Academy in recent years, Tony feels he has more work to do as Des Plaines mayor. The suburb now has a new casino churning millions into the city budget annually. The current mayor is running for state rep.

Why are you running again?

I’d been asked by quite a few people to run again. I considered it for a long time and decided I will run because I feel at this point the city needs experience in the mayor position.

Do you wish you had never left?

I would have liked to have stayed for four more if we wouldn’t have had term limits. The city needs some structure to deal with the casino money. This administration, which granted is new, was still talking about what to do with the casino money three months ago when they knew the money would be there. The plan should have already been in place. It’s somewhere between $9 and $11 million a year and that’s above and beyond our taxes. That’s a good chunk of money.

What’s job one if you’re elected?

The first thing I’d do is appoint a committee to come back to me in two months with a plan to service the entire west side of Des Plaines (to prevent future flooding). Number two, we’re gonna talk about the casino money and how it should be distributed. After that, we need to talk about infrastructure, bringing in small businesses, large businesses and looking at all the land we’ve got.

Do you feel up to this, running and serving? It’s a lot of work.

God has been good to me, physically and mentally. I haven’t met anyone yet who can keep up with me working. Because of that, I think I can serve a term. Beyond that I don’t know. If I didn’t think I could do it physically or mentally, I wouldn’t even attempt to do this thing. If I thought there was someone better than me running, I would support them in a heartbeat.

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