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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.
Office sought: DuPage Forest Preserve District 5
Family: Married, two daughters Wife - Caryn Daughters - Mary, Allie
Education: Bachelor of Science, Ornamental Horticulture, University of Illinois, 1979 Naperville Central High School, 1975
Civic involvement: - Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County - Board Member - Naperville Chamber of Commerce - Ambassador for 25 years. - Rotary Club of Naperville - Evangelical Free Church of Naperville (The Compass Church) - Deacon, Trustee - Served
Elected offices held: Forest Preserve Commissioner, 2002-present Republican Precinct Committeeman, 2002-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The Forest Preserve District is the legacy that we leave to our children, our grandchildren, and beyond. However, we have to take care of business today if we are going to leave something to them worth having. As Treasurer for the District, I keep an eye on District funds. I have pushed for a balanced budget now and for 5 years into the future. This, while reducing next year's tax levy. Looking toward future challenges, I led the effort to add fundraising staff (they already pay for themselves) and to develop a foundation to support the mission of the forest preserves. The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has recently received 501(c)(3) public charity status. I will continue to seek alternate revenues for the District to secure the forest preserves for future generations, while easing the tax burden for taxpayers today.
Key Issue 2
It has been my life-long work to draw people in this community together with nature. Therefore, I have taken the lead in environmental issues before the Commission. This includes restoration in our preserves, wildlife management, and the careful placement of facilities within the preserves. I have also connected my community with the District's education programs by sponsoring the raptor program in schools, connecting an elementary school with our Mighty Acorn project at Danada FP, providing native plants for a demonstration prairie at Waubonsee Valley HS, etc. I led the effort to draw the City of Naperville, the Naperville Park District, the Lisle Township Highway Dept. and the Forest Preserve District together to build an alternate route for the 79th St. trail. The result was a trail that cost about 1/10th of the original estimate. By working together with others, we can provide the best value for the taxpayers.
Key Issue 3
To continue to provide quality facilities throughout DuPage County. For years there was an impass with the railroad for trail access through their property for the trail from McDowell Grove to Jefferson St. When the responsibility was given to my committee, I was able to negotiate access, resolving all outstanding issues in a few short months. The trail will be completed this Spring. Likewise, the Greene Farm Barn languished for years. I was able to build community support and found the funds to rehabilitate the structure. Moving forward, I will work to raise funds so we can open it to the public. Other facilities in planning include, St. James Farm, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and the Peabody Mansion.
Do you support continuing the effort to acquire County Lakes Golf Club in Naperville? Why or why not?
I support purchasing Country Lakes to maintain open space in an otherwise congested and densely populated area.
Combined with the parcels already purchased, this will provide an assemblage of over 250 acres. This will secure open space, improve our ability to manage the existing preserve, allow the restoration of diverse wildlife habitats, offer the opportunity to improve storm-water detention, while providing space for public recreation.
Should the district be in the golf course business' If so, please explain the benefit. If not, please detail why. Should the district consider selling any of its holdings'
One of the purposes of the Forest Preserve District is to provide open space for recreation. In my view, the point of any facility in the forest preserves is to bring people to the threshhold of nature and then to invite them in. Some need little encouragement beyond a "wild" being there. For others, their entire connection to nature occurs during their weekly golf game. Recent setbacks of the recession, the fire at Oak Meadows, and prolonged flooding along Salt Creek have created near-term challenges that consolidating clubhouse activities for Oak Meadows and Maple Meadows to one building and re-routing flood impacted holes should resolve. The golf courses were partially purchased to help manage storm water for DuPage County. The re-routing of the holes will also help improve the ability to hold flood water, the ability to improve wildlife habitat, and to provide additional opportunities for recreation and education.
With the exception of selling to other municipalities, selling land requires special legislation. The District received that for the disconnected outlots we received with the purchase of St. James Farm. Since there is not an urgency to sell those parcels, that can wait until land values increase. In the case of the golf courses, I would not sell the land for development. If the District determined it would no longer offer golf, I would instead restore the land to a natural area.
Comment on the forest preserve's current land acquisition policy: Too aggressive? Too passive? Just right?
The District's land acquisition policy is appropriate, since the majority of the money used for land purchase is from a referendum where the people of DuPage County voted to spend money for that purpose. It allows us to purchase land in areas that are underserved by the District, as well as improve the quality of existing preserves. With the dramatic drop in land prices, now is a good time to maximize taxpayer dollars for land purchases.