Mike Rummel: Candidate Profile
Lake County board District 12
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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: Lake Forest
Office sought: Lake County board District 12
Family: Wife: Melanie; Son: Jared; Daughter: Jessica
Occupation: Insurance Broker
Education: B.S. from Northwestern University
Civic involvement: Vice President of Development, Northeast Illinois Council of Boy Scouts; Member, Ragdale Board; Chairman, Sesquicentennial Committee for City of Lake Forest; Chairman of 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. Mary?s; 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
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. 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 is 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 fundraising campaign to restore Elawa 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 materials 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 receive 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.
Now that golf at Fort Sheridan is a dead issue, what types of amenities should be added to the site?
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. I have remained consistent on this issue. 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. I believe we should maintain the site as open space.
What, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for the county board and county staff?
Ensuring members of the Board and staff are conducting themselves with the utmost integrity is very important, and I pledge to do my part by both acting with integrity as a Board Member as well as ensuring my fellow Board Members and staff are doing so as well. However, I believe the current rules are sufficient at this time.
Government transparency has been an important issue in recent years. Name one thing the county government or forest preserve district should do to improve transparency.
Lake County does an incredible job at being transparent, earning a number of awards for how transparent we are. However, with this amount of transparency comes a level of "information overload" which makes it difficult for the public to easily understand some of the key issues. We need to work to keep the same high level of transparency while also providing clear, concise summaries of that information in plain and simple language so the public can easily follow along.
Should the forest district use eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the final link in the Des Plaines River Trail? Why or why not? If your answer is no, how should officials go about acquiring that land sooner than later?
Yes, I believe that we should. The trail is important, and most of the property right along the trail is wetland which means that the owners are bound to have issues in the future which they will turn to government to solve. We should seek to acquire these properties at a fair price through eminent domain now, instead of risking holdouts which would increase the cost of developing this link in the future.
What will be the biggest issue facing the county over the next decade, and how do you propose dealing with it?
Aside from the ever-important task of maintaining our balanced-budget approach while fostering job creation, I believe there are two big issues facing us over the next decade. The first is the extension of Route 53, a project on which Chairman Stolman and others have made good progress recently. The second is the overcrowding of the County court facilities. Not only are courtrooms required to be shared, but lawyers, judges, and criminals are all using the same hallways and this could potentially lead to a very bad situation that rightfully results in a public outcry of "Why didn't they address this sooner?" We need to use our debt capacity to build a new courthouse as we cannot continue to look past this problem.
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