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updated: 2/10/2012 4:35 PM

Rene Hernandez: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 16 (Republican)

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  • Rene Hernandez, running for Lake County board District 16

    Rene Hernandez, running for Lake County board District 16




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Round Lake


Office sought: Lake County board District 16

Age: 34

Family: Married to Jennifer Hernandez of Flanagan, IL. I have one 16 month old daughter, Anna Grace Hernandez.

Occupation: Senior Sales Representative for Associated Research, Inc. located in Lake Forest, IL.

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. Elmhurst College, 2000.

Civic involvement: Illinois Latino Family Commission, Latino Advisory Board for U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Childserve Illinois, and Metropolitan Leadership Institute - Chicago.

Elected offices held: The Round Lake Area Public Library Board of Trustees.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Spending - The county board is accountable to the tax payer. Spending of taxpayer money should be fiscally responsible and limited to things the county is responsible for and/or things that would bring added revenue to the businesses in the county. Expanding Rt. 53 would bring added revenues to the businesses in Lake County and my district. The Millburn bypass and the expansion of Rte 21 are state projects that the state cannot pay for and is being funded by our county. The cost to our county is over 65 million dollars in debt (not including the interest of the bonds) and increased sales taxes (from the sales tax increase of 2008). These costs are being funded by the taxpayer without bringing any real benefits to the county. The approval of new county buildings like the vehicle maintenance facility on Grand avenue west of Rte 45 and the forest preserve building on Winchester road could also have been redesigned.

These new buildings shouldn't have been approved because they aren't used to their full capacity and is a waste of tax payer money.

I complement Lake County on their AAA rating and there is no doubt they have done a good job but one thing I don't hear from the county board is how they can improve.

Let's no forget that no one or no government board is perfect but there is always room to improve.

Key Issue 2

Improve the accessibility of the county board to constituents to help improve the business climate and be a champion for Lake County and my district. District 16 has been underserved and ignored by the current county board member. All elected officials are in the 'relationship business' and I plan to improve that by making myself more accessible. Partnerships will be started with business owners and constituents and will allow me to find ways of working with the state and county to improve the business climate, transportation, and other issues.

Key Issue 3

Forest preserve conservation and management -- Every county board member is also a member of the forest preserve board and this is a responsibility that I would not take lightly. My family has joined thousands of other residents and visitors over the years in enjoying the beauty of our forest preserves and I intend to help managing these natural resources by balancing constituent needs with being fiscally responsible

Questions & Answers

The county remains in the black, but property taxes across the region are high. Should programs be cut to save taxpayers money? If so, which ones and why?

Property taxes remain high not because of the county board's decisions but the townships decisions.

This can be evident in my district - Avon Township.

The 16th district has one of the highest property taxes in the county.

Only 7% of each property tax dollar goes to Lake County.

County board members must work the township tax assessors to ensure the fair representation of tax payers.

All programs should be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure its productivity and goals. If any Lake County Board candidate tells you they will cut property taxes they are not telling the truth because the townships have control of property taxes not the county board.

What should be done with the Fort Sheridan golf course? If no building or management proposals come back from vendors, do you propose abandoning golf? If so, are you concerned about a lawsuit? If you propose building a course, how should it be funded?

At this point funding the construction and operation of a 9-hole golf course at the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve at an estimated cost of 14 million dollars would not be a wise use of taxpayer money. A red flag is the fact the Forest Preserve Board did not receive any bids from any vendors who specialize in making golf courses profitable. If they cannot make the Fort Sheridan golf course profitable the Forest Preserve Board (who is not in the golf course managing business) wouldn't be able to either.

Let us not forget that the City of Lake Forest stated their concerns with the timing of such a development in light of the current golf industry decline. As I wrote before all elected officials are in ?the relationship business' and creating a partnership with any residents who believe they have been harmed could bypass the added cost of litigation. I would propose working with the original homeowners in the community of Fort Sheridan to find an agreement where the county can live up to our legal obligations but also safeguard taxpayer's money.

For example, what about agreeing to a mixed use recreational facility that includes golf but other activities that would decrease any revenue loss by the golf activities'

The Winchester House nursing home recently was turned over to a private company for operation. Should other county or forest district departments be privatized to save taxpayers money? Please explain.

Yes, Currently 25% of the Lake County budget is spent on the Health Community Services which the Winchester home falls into. When Lake County began offering community services related to health the amount of participants needing the services and the costs for providing the services were low. In a decade we will find ourselves with a problem where the county will be trying to manage and fund medical and assistance programs. The county will not be capable of funding these programs efficiently and private firms might be able to do it better

Is there a specific type of service or amenity that is lacking in your district? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund that?

At this point I can't propose anymore programs because of the state of our economy and lack of state dollars.

Programs are privileges. If there is no money or funding we can't have them.

Should the county continue to pursue open space policies' Why or why not?

I believe the county should still pursue open space policies.

Open space provides protection for natural areas and enhances the protection/survival for endangered plant and animal species. Open space also enhances the quality of life which is one of the goals of the Lake County Board.

The forest preservers are what make Lake County, IL beautiful and that is something I never would want to change.