Chicago IL: March 17th, 2019 marked the event of the Naperville Mayoral Candidates forum for the Indian-American community by The Voice of Indian-American Voters (VIA). VIA is a non-partisan platform for civic engagement of Indian-Americans. VIA The founding members of the group are prominent business persons and community leaders Dr Bharat Barai, Mr Sanjjeev Singh & Dr. Anuja Gupta. “We felt there was a need for a Non-Partisan group that promoted the civic engagement of the Indian-Americans in the area” said the founders. The top goals of the group include seeking a better level of engagement with elected officials, creating a more informed voter base and increasing the participation of Indian-Americans in the election process.
The Naperville Mayoral Candidates Forum was the third event organized by the group, the first being a Chicago Mayoral candidates forum and the second the Schaumburg Mayoral & Trustee Candidates Forum. The event was attended by Steve Chirico current mayor of Naperville running for re-election. His opponent Rocky Caylor cancelled his attendance at the last minute thru email communication. “We wanted to present both candidates so the Indian-American community could make a truly informed decision. Rocky Caylor dropping out at the last minute speaks volumes of his regard for the community and his commitment to keep his word” said VIA Founder Sanjjeev Singh.
The Leadership Team of the group includes about 20 prominent citizens & community leaders of local organizations who feel passionate about the cause including Gulzar Singh president Pan Oceanic Inc, Nimish Jani trustee Schaumburg Township, Kanti S Patel president Gujarat Cultural Society, Vidya Joshi secretary Bruhan Mumbai Maharashtra, Syed Hussaini vice-president of commercial loans at Wintrust Bank, Khaja Moinuddin trustee Hanover Township, Ulka Nagarkar member Maharashtra Mandal, Girish Kapur member United Punjabi Association, Shree Guruswamy member Chicago Andhra Association, Vandana Jhingan TV Asia, Keerthi Ravoorie member Indian-American Democrat Org, Savi Singh, Deepti Suri, Dr Rahul Deepankar, Ashfaq Hussain & Gladson Verghese past-president Indian-American Democrat Organization.
Current mayor Steve Chirico spoke at length about the initiatives that he implemented in his first 4 years term as mayor. Reduction of crime and creating a wider tax base from small businesses were major factors in the new rankings of Naperville as the Best Place of Live and the Best Place to Raise a Family in 2018. “One of the important changes made by our police department was based on the connection between crime & mental illness. By recognizing that 70% of criminal actions are related to mental illness we were able to introduce measures that targeted the root cause of the problem. Incarcerating mentally ill individuals was not the solution to the problem. In Naperville we have several steps in place to recognize and address the role of mental illness in crime” said mayor Steve Chirico.