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updated: 2/10/2012 4:16 PM

Patricia Gustin: Candidate Profile

DuPage County board District 5 (Republican)

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  • Patricia Gustin, running for DuPage County board District 5

    Patricia Gustin, running for DuPage County board District 5




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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City: Naperville


Office sought: DuPage County board District 5

Age: 52

Family: Married to hubby/attorney for 22 years. Three successful children (an engineer, a Marquette University junior, and an Augustana College freshman). Long family history of public service: U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marines, firefighters, police officers.

Occupation: Business owner, 18 years, Naperville- and Lisle-based Realtor/Broker. Former Paralegal for U.S. Department of Justice and FDIC.

Education: DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, BA - Business Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois - Paralegal State of Illinois Department of Banks & Real Estate - Managing Broker License

Civic involvement: City of Naperville Planning & Zoning Board, Vice-Chairman (2007-Present); Naperville Chamber of Commerce, Member; Naperville Zoning Board of Appeals, Vice-Chairman (2001-2007); Lisle Zoning Board of Appeals, Board Member (1994-1998); Lisle Planning Commission, Board Member (1998-2000); Aurora Republican Organization; Naperville Township Republican Organization, Executive Board Member; Naperville Area Republican Women's Organization; League of Women Voters; Cress Creek Garden Club; Lisle Green Trails Easter Egg Hunt, Organizer; Lisle Green Trails Subdivision Board, Board Member; Professional Standards/Arbitration Board, Real Estate Association of Western and South Suburban Board Member (1994-2006), now Mainstreet Realtors; Steperette Color Guard and Parent Organization, Officer and Director (2005-2007; Naperville Century Farms Homeowners Association, former Board President and Member; Naperville Exchange Club, Americanism Committee; Naperville Healing Fields of Naperville; Naperville RibFest; Naperville Last Fling; Senior Celebration, Naperville North HS, Team Leader; Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry; Naperville 175th Anniversary Parade; Little Friends Holiday Lights Parade; Veteran Day Celebrations.

Elected offices held: None

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Growing DuPage County and Fiscal Responsibility - Frankly, voters are tired of hearing that candidates are "fiscal conservatives". Of course I am. Isn't that expected of elected officials' What a candidate must explain is HOW they can be trusted to use the taxpayers' hard-earned money and WHY. How: To ensure that DuPage County is a magnet to keep and bring businesses, residents and jobs. Why: Because you cannot grow a strong DuPage County by raising taxes and fees and user charges, just cutting excessive salaries and benefits, and risking the loss of critical County services. Raising taxes and ignoring excessive costs is how Government helped cause the problem. The answer is getting Government out of the way to help businesses and residents succeed. To think smart with taxpayer money, not to praise ourselves for saving money over the next decade that we should never have agreed to pay in the first place. Revenue from success, not taxes, is a win-win. As a County Board member I will help keep and draw businesses to DuPage County. When businesses succeed and people have jobs, homes to buy and places to shop and satisfied families, County revenues go up. If Government only spends what it actually needs, because the cost is spread among more businesses and people that have jobs, the individual taxpayer cost is lower. That's the "Number 1" issue today, tomorrow, and for the future. We simply cannot afford to forget it again.

Key Issue 2

Too Many Candidates to Choose From? Look for experience you can trust. Your District 5 County Board member must be able to keep our County a great place to live and do business, now and in the future, to make the changes that need to be made, and to do it right the first time. That requires leadership, commitment, demonstrated ability and knowledge, balance, respect and trust. We are still in very tough times. Foreclosures continue to rise, income is flat for most and inadequate for too many, but taxes and Government fees and charges keep going up. So, with so many candidates running in the District 5 primary, a critical issue is making sure the voters know that you have what it takes to succeed for them the first time. That you are not just a bunch of signs and slogans. The voters need to test us, to look at our records. How long have we actually lived in DuPage District 5? Me, over 20-years. How long have we actually worked in District 5? Me, over 18-years. Have you actually lived in Naperville? Me, 12 years. Lisle? Me, 10 years. How long have we actually worked for the people? Me, over 15-years. Have we ever cost the taxpayers a dime by how we represented them? Me, no. Were we ever paid to work for them? Me, no, never. Have we ever actually worked within Government, know how to build bridges with staff and unions and businesses and taxpayers and other elected officials' Me, yes, my bridges already exist. Please, look at my record. Look how I have worked for you, for the County, for Naperville and Lisle and Aurora. Look at what I've actually done for you. And, while we should respect those that offer public service, we also need to ask them: Why? "Trust me" is not enough. Without question, you deserve more. You deserve experience. You deserve a County Board Member that has a record of achievement, that has been tested. We can't afford to send the wrong candidate to compete in the general election this November. The March primary vote is extremely important. Thank you to the Daily Herald for helping get the candidate's information out to the voters!

Key Issue 3

Reaching Across Government Bounds to Work Leaner and Smarter - Our current County leaders made good progress in implementing a taxpayer cost savings that I have advocated for years: Looking across Government bounds to remove cost redundancies and be more efficient. A few weeks ago the County Board agreed that the DuPage County Juvenile Detention Center was an unnecessary facility and cost (about $800,000 a year), and it decided that Kane County should provide those services for DuPage County at a great savings. More savings like this one must be identified, negotiated and accomplished. Ask yourself if our County, city, township and other governmental units (and even our neighboring governmental units, like Kane County) might also cooperate to share services and lower costs for road maintenance, snow removal, street cleaning, emergency services provided by police and fire departments. Why not? There will be resistence and worry by politicians and government employees. No politician wants to risk losing any control over their political boundaries. Employees will worry they will lose their jobs and earned respect. These are challenges to overcome and respectfully address. But the best first-step is to actually help elected officials and employees identify where more services can be consolidated and costs saved and begin the process to actually achieve it. The County Board has taken a first step. More work is needed. More savings exist. I have the experience to work with all of the "players" to make this happen.

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?

A key common thread among the 3 campaign issues discussed above is that our voters deserve more than talk. They deserve experienced representatives that have a tested record that shows why the candidate has earned their trust, can actually achieve Government reforms and County growth, and, has earned their vote. My record working for the voters is strong and shows why I can be trusted to get results and be a thoughtful custodian of their money. I respectfully ask for their vote in the March primary and in the November general election.

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?

In addition to the matters discussed above, in my Planning and Zoning Commission duties for Naperville and Lisle (and just as a property owner in Naperville and Lisle) I have had a special interest in road congestion issues and infrastructure improvements. More can be done, across Government bounds, to deal with congested roads like Eola Road. For Ogden Avenue's safety. To fine-tune public transportation needs. To leverage with our Forest Preserve Districts and Park Districts to promote alternative transportation ways that are green, safe, and even fun; like more bicycle pathways and motorcycle parking. Congestion is mostly a byproduct of our successful growth, and occasionally some short-sighted planning. I bring real experience to the County to immediately start addressing our most significant congestion challenges and needs.

My passion extends to our military who are returning from abroad. I will look to offer empowerment and involvement in our community through a special volunteer team of community resource providers, with the county as possible, to enable returning veterans to tend to their immediate needs, such as housing opportunities, education, and medical resources.

How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?

First, I want to point out that I have been a Lisle or Naperville Planning and Zoning Commissioner for over 15 years.

So, I am uniquely qualified to perform this very important County role. Second, because my own family is diverse, I am uniquely qualified to share my views in that regard. That said, the County best manages (and plans for) its growth by accommodating the presentation of new ideas from business and residents. The County must ensure that its overall vision for the County is met, and if needed, adjusted, because often the public does have better, more current ideas. To know if that is the case, your County Board member must actually have knowledge of the subject area, know the locale, and know if a change to the County's plans and ordinances is justified. In other words: Experience is very important to properly managing good growth. Experience teaches when a bad proposal must be rejected, like I voted against the Meijer store in Lisle as a Plan Commissioner. And, when diversity, for residents or businesses, is impeded, the County must act to remove the barriers. Diverse businesses safeguard from the ebb and flow of business life cycles; imagine, if all our County businesses only built and sold Beta-max video recorders, where would we be? Embracing the County's diverse people is critically important, too. As a daughter of a Lithuanian immigrant, with several ethnicities and cultures in my own family, I know that diversity builds unity and strength. Unity and strength is what our County must be about.

If incumbent, are you satisied your attendance at county board/committee meetings has been adequate? Describe the rough percentage of meetings you've attended. If non-incumbent, are you aware of the incumbent's attandance record and is it adequate?

Yes, as a non-incumbent I am aware that the media has reported the attendance records of the County Board members. That one of the members from District 5 was reported to have the worst attendance record, less than 70%, was a breach of public trust.

What is your stance on county board members' pay? Too high, too low, just right? Would you propose any changes' Do you think county board members should receive pensions' If not, would be willing to pledge not to take one?

The County spends about $1 million each year to pay its Board. Each Board Member is paid some $50,000 a year plus benefits. This pay is more than many DuPage County residents make each year, and for many Board members this is not even their full-time job. Is it too much to pay? Let me respond this way: Each City Councilman for the City of Naperville is paid about $10,000 to $12,000 a year. They work extremely hard, and the jobs they perform for Naperville are almost identical to a County Board member's job. Should County Board Members be paid some $40,000 more than their Naperville City Council counterparts. No. Should they receive pensions' No. Would I be willing to pledge not to take a pension? Yes.