Michael Walkup: Candidate Profile
McHenry County board District 3
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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.
City: Crystal Lake
Office sought: McHenry County board District 3
Family: Married Wife: Carolyn Daughter: Erica Wacker
Occupation: Attorney, Organic Farmer
Education: Juris Doctor, Bachelor of Arts
Civic involvement: Commisioner, Crystal Lake Park District Board Past member: McHenry County Regional Planning Commission, County Historic Preservation Commission, Crystal Lake Historic Preservation Commission, Nunda Township Planning Commission, Citizens Advisory Council, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Mchenry County and Crystal Lake Historical Societies, Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, Republicans for Environmental Protection, Sierra Club, McHenry County Bar Aasoc.; Board of Governors, Illinois State Bar Assoc. and Northwest Suburban Bar Assoc., National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, National Organization of Veterans Advocates.
Elected offices held: Commissioner, Crystal Lake Park District Board Republican Precinct Committeeman, Nunda 15
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Reform of the County Board, particularly the method of selection the Chair, term limits for the Chair, and reduction in the powers and salary of the Chair.
Key Issue 2
Defeat of Jack Franks' referendum to change the form of county government, which would create a "super Chairman" with vast and unchecked powers.
Key Issue 3
Preservation of agriculture, open space, and local environment.
McHenry County has managed the recession without a budgetary crisis like those in other counties. How do you ensure the county continues on that path and that reserves aren?t depleted? Are there specific budget areas that need more attention?
McHenry County has achieved a triple A bond rating, the smallest unit of local government in the nation to do so. We must maintain that distinction. The reserves need to be an appropriate size. We should avoid any further levy even for cost of living until the recession is over.
Does the McHenry County Board have a good transportation improvement plan? Please be specific and suggest whether you think anything is missing or should be scrapped.
Yes. I was one of the drafters of the current transportaion plan when I was on the Planning Commission. A rewrite for 2040 is now being started. I hope to be able to participate in that.
Does the county need to address its ethics policies? Why or why not? If so, how?
Yes. I was one of the founders of the citizen group that got the Board to add another disclosure requirement pertaining to land holdings in the county. The current Board violated the Open Meetings Act to try to redistrict the County Board District in which I am running. I have been strongly opposed to that. We need better ethics training for the Board so that never happens again.
Assess McHenry County?s efforts thus far in terms of groundwater preservation and protection. What needs to be done now and in the future?
I have been active in various environmental groups in the county for the past 20 years, including serving on the Board of the Environmental Defenders. That is the group that got the groundwater initiative going. Another group that I helped found, Alliance for Land Agriculture and Water, has been on the forefront of this issue. Now that the current groundwater director is leaving, we need to be sure we select the right replacement.
Assess how the county health department approached the whooping cough outbreak. What should have been done differently?
Their response was adequate. More importantly, we need to make changes in the Health Department. They have been overly restrictive in doing such things as trying to prohibit church bake sales, and imposing onerous restrictions on local produce vendors that do nothing to improve food safety, such as requiring a certified kitchen to pop popcorn, not letting people slice tomatoes at their farmstand to give customers a taste, etc. If we are going to be able to have more agri tourism in the county, the health regulations as well as the zoning restrictions need to be re-evaluated.
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