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Traynere blazes unexpected path as Bolingbrook mayoral candidate

Alex Ortiz | 3/16/2017, 6 a.m.
There’s a story Traynere tells about the first time she engaged in political activism. She was in the fourth grade ...

Now Traynere balances her obligations to the county board, a cleaning business she co-owns with her husband, and spending her weekends knocking on doors campaigning. The new ticket has taken that Trump visit to be one of the key critiques of Claar, along with a lack of transparency, his rising salary and the $314 million in debt accrued under his leadership.

The village debt has come as a surprise to many of the residents Traynere has spoken to. She has made it a key argument against Claar saying she'll stop automatic pay raises for elected officials, rake in "wasteful spending " and stop giving out "special deals" to businesses to come to the village. While Traynere did not mention specific cuts she'd make if elected, she did point to projects like Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport and the Bolingbrook Golf Club, which she argues do not benefit many residents and which she considers wasteful spending. Traynere also does not buy the argument that the investments Claar made have been responsible for all of Bolingbrook's growth and that the village is already a desirable place for companies to come to.

"All of the communities around us have prospered and have grown and they do not have this amount of debt," she said. "At the end of the day, there were bad decisions made by our mayor in terms of where to invest money."

But mostly, this race is serving as an opportunity for a renewed interest in local politics.

Traynere says she sees and hears the excitement from groups like the Democratic Women of Will County and the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project as well as from the Bolingbrook residents she meets knocking on doors. She’s received endorsements from Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Bill Foster and the new Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison.

Even if she didn’t think such an opportunity was possible less than a year ago, Traynere says she wants to bring change. She says she knows about the ups and downs and the dysfunction of government, and she’s not about to stay on the sidelines. Traynere’s come a long way from that letter she wrote to the Illinois governor in the fourth grade, but now she’s taken that passion for public service to potentially the first new mayor in Bolingbrook in some time.

“Thirty years is too long for any politician,” she said.