My name is Michael Gorman. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, and went to college at Illinois Wesleyan. After falling in love with the Bloomington/Normal community and graduating in 2010, I decided to stay in central Illinois. I did some freelance web development work for about a year before going to work at Illinois Wesleyan full-time in 2011, and I stayed there until 2019. Over time, I started getting more involved in the community:
- In 2012, I cofounded a bicycle advocacy organization, Bike BloNo. Through this organization, we promote the bicycle for everyday transportation in the Bloomington/Normal community. I’ve served as the Treasurer since we opened our first bank account in 2013, and when we formed a Public Policy and Infrastructure team in 2015, I signed on as co-chair of that group with Mike McCurdy. My passion is on working with public officials to shape the development of bike-friendly policies (for example, I helped shepherd the adoption of Complete Streets policies in Bloomington and Normal in the summer of 2015) and guiding infrastructure plans, such as new bike lanes, bike racks, and the like to make sure they’ll be safe, useful, and beloved by the community.
- From June 2014 to April 2015, I worked with local attorney Amelia Buragas to help get her elected to the Bloomington City Council, serving as an advisor and campaign treasurer. In addition to managing the books and providing strategic advice on a near-daily basis, I also designed some campaign literature and graphics.
- From August 2014 to July 2015, I served as Chair of the Transportation and Air Quality working group for the development of the City of Bloomington’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
- In July 2014, I started helping Green Top Grocery to improve their website. More on Green Top later.
- In September 2015, County Board member Carlo Robustelli brought me on board as his campaign treasurer for his 2016 re-election bid. The race ended up being uncontested.
- In December 2015, Mayor Tari Renner and the Bloomington City Council unanimously voted to appoint me to a three-year term on the McLean County Regional Planning Commission board of commissioners. I loved working with MCRPC staff on the Bloomington Comprehensive Plan, so this was a natural next step. In this role, I continue to work with and support MCRPC staff as they work to plan the future of our community’s major infrastructure and land use.
- In May 2016, I was voted on to the Green Top Grocery board of directors. Green Top is our community’s only cooperative grocery store, at the time slated to open its doors about a year later. Shortly before I joined the board, the organization’s first General Manager had been hired, so the board was transitioning from a very active working board to a more mature oversight team for the GM and his staff.
- In October 2016, I was voted on to the board of the Ecology Action Center, the community’s main environmental nonprofit. From government contracts to help oversee Bloomington and Normal’s solid waste programs, to radon awareness programs, and from DIY rain barrel workshops to group-buy programs for solar panels, the EAC performs a bevy of key projects to promote sustainability in our community.
- In January 2017, I briefly joined the staff of Ride Illinois on a part-time basis to provide technical assistance on a few of their key projects. Ride Illinois, formerly known as the League of Illinois Bicyclists, is the statewide bicycle advocacy organization, dedicated to improving bicycling conditions throughout the state. They advocate for all Illinois bicyclists, promoting bicycle access, education, and safety.
I am currently getting a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. I hope to work in transportation policy after completing my degree in June 2021. My long-term goal is to help realign the incentives for policymakers, planners, and engineers, to make the transportation system more equitable and sustainable.