Lake Forest Mayoral Race 2023

Tomorrow is election day and we have an important mayoral race in Lake Forest. I don’t think in all of my years of living in this beautiful city I can ever remember a mayoral race being such a contested one.

About a month ago, I reached out to all of the candidates—Prue Beidler, Paul Hamann, and Stanford “Randy” Tack (yes, there are three people running for mayor in spite of how it seems). I interviewed Beidler and Tack in person and Hamann via email. I’ve been sitting on these interviews for weeks, not wanting to throw any more fuel on the fire. But I do believe it’s important for everyone vote—so if these brief interviews will give you the motivation to go out and do so, along with the information you need to choose your candidate—the right thing to do is to share them. I’m very grateful to all three candidates for the time they spent with me.

I asked the candidates the same exact questions. I’ve transcribed my interviews with Beidler and Tack and am sharing Hamann’s answers as he sent them to me. Their answers are shared in alphabetical order.

Prue Beidler, Independent Candidate

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Champaign. My dad was on the architectural faculty at the University of Illinois. I was one of five children, the oldest daughter. I went away to college and met Frank Beidler. I came to visit Frank in Lake Forest; I think in 1965. It just took my breath away. On that first trip, there was no expectation that I would come back and someday live here, but that is indeed what happened. Frank and I got married and first lived in Chicago, but we moved out here when our first son was born in 1976.

At that time, I had already become involved in lots of not-for-profit work in Chicago. I was a Chicago Public School teacher. I decided early on if I could raise my children, that’s what I wanted to do but simultaneously I began to work with a number of not-for-profits—locally and in the city. At some point, I started telling people that I had a career as a volunteer. It was a true passion of mine.

Q. What made you choose to run for mayor at this time?

It’s fairly straightforward. The Caucus committee called me last summer and asked me if I would throw my hat in the ring for mayor. I had gotten to know the Caucus fairly well because I had been an aldermanic candidate three times and before that I served three, two-year terms on the Cemetery Commission.

On October 12 of last year, I was told that Randy [Tack] was the Caucus’ choice for mayor. You know you don’t always get the things you think you’re suited for. I spent a day feeling sorry for myself.

But then what happened was that on November 9, the Caucus prepared their slate of 11 people they were endorsing and asked all Caucus members [all Lake Forest residents registered to vote are Caucus members] to come and vote. Two thirds of voters voted “no” to Randy Tack. The Caucus, frankly, didn’t know how to respond to this. The bylaws prescribed the vote, but they don’t really say what to do if the vote doesn’t support the Caucus’ choice.

People had asked me before the November 9 vote if I would consider running as an independent and I said absolutely not. But afterwards, I thought to myself, this isn’t right. This seems wrong to me to have asked people to vote and not pay attention to their vote. I talked to my husband who said, “I think you need to do this.” I’m also a person of faith, and I spent some time in prayer thinking about this, and it felt like the right thing to do. I feel a call to do this this. My decision to run an independent campaign was triggered by the Caucus’ decision not to accept the vote.

Q. What leadership roles have you held within the city that have best prepared you to be mayor?

Six years as alderman gave me a good sense for how our city government works and what the pace of government is. It is a slow-moving operation. The mayor is a “buck-stops-with-you” position.

I chaired the “Welcome Home” campaign in 2017 [a marketing campaign to promote Lake Forest to potential residents, both residential and commercial]. I chaired the civic beautification committee. And I would like to make the case that leadership of a not-for-profit parallels the mayoral office in some ways. I’ve served on 20 boards and have chaired of 10 of them. It was not uncommon for me to be in a leadership position.

Q. What are three things you perceive as problems facing Lake Forest and how do you plan to address them?

Problems is a big word. I see these more as concerns.

  1. Development. This not just an east side issue. People aren’t convinced that the city is going to get this right. There isn’t great transparency on this issue. Whenever transparency is an option, it’s the one you want to pick. People are hungry to have conversations about development in our city. We need more engagement on this. And we need builders and architects with historic expertise to be at the table where these conversations are happening.
  • Railroads. There is murkiness around this issue that is very worrisome. We need an ongoing plan to better understand what the commuter and freight traffic will be. This can’t be something we wait on and react to. We need to be proactively managing this relationship.
  • Community engagement. It was so affirming being part of the “Welcome Home” initiative and listening to why people loved to live here. What can we do to give more people an outlet for their concerns and ideas so they feel engaged in the conversation about our city?

Q. How do you balance the need for Lake Forest to continue to develop new business yet preserve what we love most about the city?

We need to acknowledge that there will be development. I want Lake Forest to thrive in the ways it always has. Balance between development and historic space. I want everything we do to be guided by transparency. Broaden resident engagement specifically to business development. We have to work with professionals who work in historic spaces. I have great respect for built spaces. They should be built to pass the test of time. We’ve got to get it right in the beginning.

I want us to be proud of everything that gets built. Stewarding tradition is something I take very seriously and being very deliberate and mindful about everything we do.

Q. What is the biggest misconception about you in your run for mayor?

I think the biggest misconception is that I have limited financial experience. As an alderman, I served for six years on the finance committee. In my years of philanthropy, I was the Interim CEO at the Chicago Children’s Museum, Interim CEO of Chicago Community Trust, and Board Chair of Chicago Community Trust. At all of these organizations where I had a leadership role, I was expected to attend all finance meetings, be fully conversant on all financial matters of the organization, and be able to speak publicly about the finances of the organizations I lead.

Q. What do you love most about Lake Forest?

The people of Lake Forest. When I was working with the Welcome Home campaign, we tried to come up with a “Top 10” list for what we loved in Lake Forest and we couldn’t do it because there were too many things to list.

Q. Why should residents vote for you in this election?

I have a deep love for this community. I’ve lived here for 47 years. I have proven my commitment to giving back to the city. The mayor in some ways is the “volunteer in chief.” I have that unique value-add of having been an alderman, a commission member, and part of four private-public partnerships where I saw how philanthropy is part of the DNA of this community. All of my leadership on boards gives me the skills I need to run meetings, speak publicly, and interact with the public in general. I love being with people. I love hearing their ideas. I love engaging.

No matter how this election goes, I know I will look back on this time as some of the most interesting and most purposeful work of my life.

To learn more about Prue Beidler, visit

Paul Hamann, Independent Candidate

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

  • Lifetime resident of Lake Forest
  • Licensed Professional Engineer
  • Registered Energy Professional in Chicago
  • Purdue Electrical Engineering Graduate 
  • Purdue Student Senator–representing 2,000 students, in dorm, to administration
  • I ran for Purdue Student Body—Vice President
  • I was a Member of Purdue Lacrosse team and I was on the traveling squad.
  • So, I am conscious of what athletes might be going through, on the topic of turf fields
  • I was a Purdue lifeguard @ the university pool.
  • I have been a Commodity Trader for over 40 years

Q. What made you choose to run for mayor at this time?

Three main reasons:

  1. No more artificial turf fields
  2. Reduce pension liabilities
  3. Save all trees

Q. What leadership role have you held within the city has best prepared you to be mayor?

  • The reason I believe that I am prepared to be Lake Forest mayor is that during the past 10 years, I have made 779 trades in my PTI Securities account and 100 % of the trades were profitable.
  • I have paid taxes on all those trades.
  • Every trade started as a loss because of commissions.
  • Goldman Sachs has a trading desk, and they could have made any of those trades.
  • If I can beat Goldman Sachs to those trades every day for 10 years, then I should be able to help the City of Lake Forest.

Q. What are three things you perceive as problems facing Lake Forest and how do you plan to address them?

  1. If you want to stop plastic fields that are bad for the environment, then I believe that I am your only candidate.
  2. My goal is a balanced budget and pay down the 52 million dollars of unpaid bills. The Caucus candidates caused the UNDERfunded pension problem.  There is no silver bullet and that if I can reduce spending by 1 million dollars a month, on consultants, and other similar expenses, then at the end of 4 years the underfunded pension problem, should be solved, and we can then truly have a balance budget.
  3. The Caucus candidates on the city council allowed hundreds of trees to be cut down at Forest Park, at the beach, and now there is severe bluff erosion. The Caucus candidates on the city council gave away 60 acres of McCormick Ravine and hundreds of trees were cut down. Stop cutting down healthy trees in Lake Forest.

Q. How do you balance the need for Lake Forest to continue to develop new business yet preserve what we love most about the city?

Lake Forest Building Review board handles these issues.

Q. What is the biggest misconception about you in your run for mayor?

I am a disrupter.

Q. What do you love most about Lake Forest?

I have lived here in Lake Forest all my life, and I love everything about this community. There are very few places in this world that have the culture, activities, and the change in the seasons like Lake Forest.

Q. Why should residents vote for you in this election?

If they want a truly balanced budget then I believe I can achieve it, in four years.

For more information about Paul Hamann, email

Stanford “Randy” Tack, Caucus-Endorsed Candidate

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Chicago and my spent my childhood years in Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn. I graduated from Glenbard West High School and the University of Illinois (B.S. in Biology) and attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine. To pay for medical school, I worked as a bartender, as a steelworker in a factory in Cicero, and managed an apartment building.

In medical school, I met and married Liisa Merits who grew up here in Lake Forest. We had two children. While in my residency, I was recruited by Lake Forest Orthopedics (LFO) and specialized in Spine Surgery prompting a fellowship at Rush Medical Center. When I finished my fellowship, my wife and I moved our family to Lake Forest.

After some years, I partnered with my LFO colleagues to form a multi-specialty orthopedic practice, the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI), of which I’m a founding board member. I was appointed Vice President of the Midwest Orthopedic Network, and managing partner at IBJI.

In 2002, my wife was diagnosed with Glioblastoma and passed away in 2004. At the time, my son was completing high school, my daughter was at the American School of Ballet in New York. My time as a single parent and surgeon was challenging and couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of my late wife’s parents. I later remarried to my wife Paula and merged my family with her two sons. We’ve always been in Lake Forest.

I got involved with city government years ago by chance. We were at a party and a neighbor who was on a nominating committee for the 3rd Ward asked if she could suggest me. My father had been an alderman when I was a kid, so I thought sure—why not? I wasn’t expecting that they would pick me my first time through, but they did.

Q. What made you choose to run for mayor at this time?

The Caucus asked me to consider running for mayor and I was happy to do so.

Q. What leadership roles have you held within the city that have best prepared you to be mayor?

I was elected as a 3rd Ward Alderman from 2012-2018. While alderman, I served as the Chairman of the Public Works Committee and Fire Vision 2020 Committee.  In these roles, I oversaw:

  • the relinquishment of a Special Service Area tax on certain residents of Ward 3 that saved residents almost $800,000
  • the renovation and upgrade of Lake Forest’s water plant
  • the reworking of the Fire and Public Safety Pension Plan for the City of Lake Forest to stabilize expenditures over time

In 2021, I was asked by the City Council to Chair the Central Business District Planning Committee, an initiative to ensure a stronger economic future for Lake Forest. 

Q. What are three things you perceive as problems facing Lake Forest and how do you plan to address them?

  1. To maintain the financial stability that we have. Our Triple A bond rating is critically important for us to maintain as a city. So, the first role as the mayor is to make sure the city council continues to function in such a way that’s fiscally responsible.
  2. Infrastructure. Why do we even have city government? It’s to maintain sewers, the water plant, keep roads in good condition—all the boring stuff that’s actually the important stuff.
  3. Figure out how to undo all of the consequences of this particular election. This is something we’ve never seen before. Significant money has been spent to elect the mayor, which is a volunteer role. The mayor will have to reach out to the aggrieved parties and make things better. We have really effective city government and we won’t if this type of thing continues because we won’t get good people to run and work as part of our city staff. You can’t have a volunteer government without an effective Caucus. We’ve learned what needs to be revamped within the Caucus but that doesn’t undermine its importance.

Q. How do you balance the need for Lake Forest to continue to develop new business yet preserve what we love most about the city?

The mayor doesn’t have authority over development decisions. People who might be worried that the mayor is going to go off and implement his or her own agenda don’t understand how this office works.

Q. What is the biggest misconception about you in your run for mayor?

Before I was even officially nominated for mayor, there were all of these stories circulating that I was out to close down Historic Preservation that were simply not true. It was crazy. There was no basis to this. I’m not in the pocket of developers. I’m a big fan of Historic Preservation.

I just want people to know that I’m a normal guy, who likes living in Lake Forest, who actually enjoys the process of government. I liked being an alderman and the work behind it. I liked the problems you get to solve. I have no personal agenda. This is not a legacy thing for me. The picture of the next mayor is going to be hung on some back wall of City Hall that no one will ever see. I’m a pretty nice guy, who is honest, and just wants to give back to the community that’s been everything to me.

Q. What do you love most about Lake Forest?

I love living here. My sister-in-law used to come and visit from Atlanta and say this was paradise—the only thing missing was the weather. When I started coming up here when I was dating my wife, I absolutely felt like I had won the lottery. What’s not to love about this city? I got to live here, have a job here, and raise my kids here. I still feel that way about it.

Q. Why should residents vote for you in this election?

As a physician or surgeon, you make a lot of decisions that are in somebody else’s interest. My first thought as a doctor always is: is this beneficial to you? Is this in your best interest? Will this enhance your quality of life? I do quality of life surgery–not quantity of life surgery.

This is the same process that I think a mayor should use when considering problems facing constituents. What is in the best interest of the people of Lake Forest?

To learn more about Randy Tack, visit

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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