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updated: 2/10/2012 4:34 PM

Mike Rummel: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 12 (Republican)

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  • Mike Rummel, running for Lake County board District 12

    Mike Rummel, running for Lake County board District 12




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: Lake Forest


Office sought: Lake County board District 12

Age: 60

Family: Married, Wife Melanie K. Rummel Attorney, Son Jared Rummel, Daughter Jessica Rummel

Occupation: Insurance Broker

Education: Northwestern University BS

Civic involvement: Vice President of Development, Northeast Illinois Council of Boy Scouts, Member Ragdale Board, Chairman Sesquicentennial Committee for City of Lake Forest, Mayor City of Lake Forest 2005-09, Alderman City of Lake Forest 2001-05, Chairman Finance Committee City of Lake Forest, 2002-05, Chairman Lake Forest Day Centennial Celebration, Former Board Member School of St. Mary's, Coach School of St Marys, Former President Northwestern Club of Chicago,

Elected offices held: Mayor, City of Lake Forest 2005-09 Alderman, City of Lake Forest 2001-05

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My number one issue is to attract and maintain businesses in Lake County in order to create jobs.

As a business owner, I understand the unique needs of businesses and how we can better support them in order to put Lake County residents back to work.

I was chairman of the downtown commission in Lake Forest to acheive this end.

We must do more to support Lake County businesses as well as those who are potentially looking to bring their business to our county.

Several major businesses that recently left Lake County cited the lack of shovel-ready industrial zones to allow for their business' expansion, which is something we must fix if we are going to maintain and create jobs for our hard-working citizens.

In addition we must complete the long-debated Route 53 extension to improve transportation, reduce travel times for commuters and support additional growth and subsequently job-creation.

Key Issue 2

My second campaign issue it to make county government even more efficient and cost effective.

Government can always be more efficient, as I have proven in my work in the community.

I promoted public-private partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation in Lake Forest, leading on environmental and open space issues including overseeing the fund raising campaign to restore Elewa Farms and the opening of Townline Park as well as working to expand and renovate the CROYA center.

Using this type of innovative thinking at the county level, we can work with municipalities to combine purchasing power in order to lessen expenses as well as to identify areas where services and material can be shared to reduce costs for taxpayers.

Finally, just as I have done in Lake Forest, we must maintain Lake County's pristine AAA bond rating.

Key Issue 3

The third issue I am focusing on in my campaign is to represent our community by bringing services back to the 12th District.

As the former Mayor of Lake Forest, I know what it takes to be accessible to residents, make tough decisions, and produce results.

I want to bring that same tenacity to the County on behalf of the residents of the 12th District.

Currently our district is the largest taxpayer to the county, yet we recieve the least amount in return.

I will work to change that.

I also will work to ensure Knollwood's needs are met and their challenges regarding county-provided public safety services are addressed.

Finally, as an active member of our community, I will continue to be heavily involved and openly accessible to my fellow 12th District residents so we can work together to continue to move our community forward.

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?

First, programs should be analyzed and any programs where the cost outweighs the benefits should be cut.

The criteria should include the number of people served, cost efficiencies, urgency of the need, etc.

However while one can continue to cut programs to reduce the budget, I believe looking for efficiencies is a far better strategy.

There are several ways to do this.

For example when I was Mayor of Lake Forest, I formed a purchasing group so that City Governments in the group could share in efficiencies of bulk purchasing.

This same idea could be implemented at the County Level.

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?

The Fort Sheridan Golf Course was a concern when I was Mayor of Lake Forest, so I gathered a group of Mayors and the Forest Preserve to discuss the issues.

The major question is: How does one balance what the residents of Fort Sheridan were promised with the economic reality and the declining popularity of the sport?

There are already four courses within a five mile radius of Fort Sheridan, and a 5th course would only serve to hurt those already-established courses.

When the original land deal was being negotiated, there was a Plan B to preserve the area as recreational space that unfortunately did not become part of the final document.

Studies seem to indicate that maintaining the area as open space will enhance the property values of Fort Sheridan as much or more than a golf course, which is a legitimate concern for Fort Sheridan residents.

If it can be proven that open space can enhance values as much or more than a golf course, then I believe we should go back to the Army and attempt to work out a deal where this land could be maintained as open space.

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.

Privatization of government services should always be considered.

The real issue is does it really work?

In Lake Forest we did a privatization study of waste collection and found that there was no economic benefit because our trucks not only picked up waste, but also plowed.

On the other hand, there were economic efficiencies to be gained by privatizing the tree service.

Privitization should always be considered, but these decisions must only be made after careful study to ensure such a move will result in cost savings for taxpayers while maintaining or improving the level of service.

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?

While my district does not rely heavily on county services, we are the largest taxpayer to the county yet recieve the least in return.

The county must do more to assist Knollwood, especially in providing public safety services.

We are also affected by county-wide issues such as shortage of shovel-ready dirt, which hinders job creation.

In order to spur future growth, we need development sites within the county that are ready to support industry and the infrastructure necessary to develop those sites.

The county must continue working to extend Route 53 in order to alleviate traffic and attract economic growth.

Finally we must address our energy infrastructure in Lake County.

By burying electrical lines, we can avoid the power outages that plague the county last year.

I acknowledge that directional boring is expensive and perhaps cost prohibitive, but I believe we can collaborate with our energy provider when rebuilding or building new roads.

Installing underground power cables is a worthwhile expense for them as it would be offset by the need for fewer repairs and improved customer satisfaction.

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

I am a proponent of open space.

However, one must be sensitive to the fact that there are areas in the county where there is not enough of a tax base to support the minimal level of essential services to residents.

So, for example, the cost per resident to operate an ambulance spread over 4000 households is much less than the cost spread over 400.

This important principle must be considered when planning open space investments.

Additional, we must consider the opportunity cost of open space, and avoid areas that could be used as enterprise zones which could be used for business development and the creation of jobs.

Open space is an important aspect of the quality of life Lake County affords our residents, so we must continue to pursue these policies.

Perhaps a open land for development land switch as they do with wetland mitigation could be considered.

We simply must ensure that pursuit is done smartly.