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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: Lake County board District 6
Family: Married, two sons, one granddaughter
Occupation: County Board Member & Forest Preserve Commissioner
Education: BS, Psychology
Civic involvement: Member,CLC Community Partners for Sustainability: 2009-present Vice-President, Grayslake Parks Foundation: 2002-2006 Member, Sierra Club: 2001-present Member, Liberty Prairie Conservancy: 1996-present Lifetime Member, Grayslake Historical Society Board of Directors, Lake Forest Hospital, 2005-2010
Elected offices held: Grayslake Mayor, 1993-2001 Grayslake Trustee, 1989-1993 County Board Member, 2008-present o Vice-Chair ? Revenue, Records & Legislation Committee o Member - Law & Judicial Committee o Member - Planning, Building & Zoning Committee o Member - Ethics Committee o Member - Lake County Partners Board of Governors o Director - Solid Waste Agency of Lake County o Director ? Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency o County Board Representative - SWALCO Recycling Task Force Forest Preserve Commissioner: 2008 ? present o Vice-Chair ? Finance Committee o Past Chair ? Facilities Committee o Member - Planning & Restoration Committee
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The Economy: Jobs and Taxes I believe the biggest issue facing most people today is the economy, evidenced by fewer jobs and high taxes. A healthy economy is important to our quality of life. Employment opportunities allow everyone to meet the needs of their families. Keeping jobs in the County cuts down on travel times and increases the tax base, helping our schools and decreasing the burden on homeowners. I currently serve on the Board of Lake County Partners, the economic development arm of the County. As a former economic development professional, I know what it takes to recruit and retain businesses, and through Partners, I work with municipalities and Lake County corporations to retain existing and bring new jobs to the County. We have achieved some successes in recent years, including the FedEx and Cornerstone projects in Grayslake. I have supported the use of incentives when they result in a positive benefit to the community in new jobs and increased tax base, but only if they also demonstrate a financial benefit to our schools and other taxing bodies. While increased economic development can help to lessen the property tax burden on residents, we also need to control spending to keep the County?s tax burden as low as possible. I have voted in favor of more than $17M in cuts in the County Budget between 2009 and 2012. I refused a raise voted on by Members prior to my joining the Board and donated the amount of the raise back to the County. I serve as Vice-Chair of the Forest Preserve Finance Committee, where I have been a strong voice for fiscally conservative policies that have resulted in reduced expenditures, decreasing our operating budget by 5.5% in the 2011/2012 fiscal year, and that have also kept our tax rate as low as possible.
Key Issue 2
Transportation One of the key issues affecting our quality of life in Lake County is traffic congestion, and central Lake County is particularly hard hit. In the past three years, I have supported several key road projects including the proposed Route 120 Bypass and the expansion of Route 21. These projects will bring great benefit to our part of the County. When the Board adopted a resolution supporting the Route 53 extension, I offered a successful amendment that added language solidifying the County?s position that any proposed Route 53 project would not only solve the traffic problems in the proposed corridor, but also minimize impact on the environment, include a transit component, and operate effectively with the proposed Route 120 Boulevard Bypass. At this time, we need to focus on getting a decision on the Route 53 project, so that we can plan for both that north/south improvement, as well as the much needed east/west relief that will come from the Route 120 Bypass. While we wait on a decision on Route 120 and Route 53, we need to continue to work aggressively with the State to improve our local roads and intersections wherever possible. I have voted in support of the expansion of Washington Street from Grayslake to Hainesville and will also work with Lake County DOT and IDOT to focus on necessary improvements to the Hainesville Road & Route 120 intersection.
Key Issue 3
Environment - The Greening of Lake County My commitment to the environment underlies everything I do. In the past three years, I brought a strong environmental focus to my work on the County Board, supporting increased recycling, reasonable alternative energy regulations, and sustainable approaches to County operations. I led the fight against including incineration in the County?s 2009 Solid Waste Plan, instead shifting the focus to increasing recycling. I served on the SWALCO Recycling Task Force, which recently completed a year and half of work, resulting in a plan to increase Lake County?s recycling rate from 38% to 60%. We are now beginning work within the County and with all municipalities to implement the Plan. As a member of the Community Partners for Sustainability, organized through the College of Lake County, I have worked with others to focus on sustainable agriculture, sustainable development, green economic development and other initiatives. Sustainability is of key importance throughout Lake County, not only to government, but also to our schools, to our businesses and to our residents. I believe the County needs to be a leader in this area, working with the College of Lake County and other entities to promote sustainability projects that reduce costs, add jobs, and protect our environment for our children and grandchildren.
Now that golf at Fort Sheridan is a dead issue, what types of amenities should be added to the site?
I believe Fort Sheridan is well suited to passive recreational amenities that enhance the visitor?s experience of this beautiful, historic and unique piece of land. The site already includes some trails and educational exhibits and I would build on those to start. It also is a prime site for bird watching and I would like to see amenities that tie in with that endeavor. The District held an initial meeting a few months ago for interested parties to share their thoughts on what type of amenities they would like to see on this land. As a member of the Planning & Restoration Committee, I will work with staff and citizen input to arrive at an agreed upon plan, just as we do with all of our preserves, however, I believe our emphasis will be on passive, rather than active, recreational opportunities.
What, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for the county board and county staff?
I strongly supported the recent updates to our Ethics Ordinances at both the County and the Forest Preserve. As a result of those actions, I am not aware of any needed changes at this time. However, I am open to ideas for tightening the Ethics Ordinances even further and I support a continual process of reviewing them on an annual basis to look for any improvements that we could make.
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.
One aspect of local government that I particularly value is the level of accountability and transparency that we can and should have in our dealings. I have always supported increased transparency in government, dating back to when I was Mayor of Grayslake and we added video-taping of our meetings. I believe that both the County and Forest Preserve currently do a good job of operating transparently. I would support posting meeting attendance information for County and Forest Preserve Board and Committee meetings on the respective websites. We serve the constituents and they have a right to know how we are doing our job.
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?
No, I don?t believe we should use eminent domain at this time to acquire any property for the Forest Preserve. While there are sometimes legitimate reasons for a government entity to use eminent domain, the Forest Preserve has worked hard over the past ten years or so to build a reputation of working diligently and fairly with landowners, while avoiding the use of eminent domain. This has resulted in many successful and important acquisitions. I think using the technique at this time could damage the District?s reputation and possibly set us back in terms of future negotiations with landowners. I do however support continued aggressive negotiations with the landowner to complete this last link in the Des Plaines River Trail, considering outright acquisition, but also the possibility of a long-term lease or easement.
What will be the biggest issue facing the county over the next decade, and how do you propose dealing with it?
I believe the biggest challenge for the next decade will be the same whether you are working at the local level or the state or federal ? it?s economic. Our citizens have seen their savings diminish, their homes lose value, their jobs disappear, and their taxes increase. While there are signs of recovery, it will be slow. Our number one priority should be to do whatever we can to enhance our citizens ability to maintain their quality of life for themselves and their families, while not adding to their financial burden. This means we need to control our spending and keep our tax rates as low as possible. We need to support the retention and creation of jobs in the County. We need to enhance transportation options to improve our residents? quality of life and also attract businesses to the area. And we need to protect the environment and maintain recreational opportunities at the Forest Preserves. To do all of this we must work cooperatively across party lines and across the lines of government entities, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations. We will stand the best chance of success if we work together. Great examples of this are the work of Lake County Partners, the College of Lake County?s Community Partners for Sustainability, and the Lake County Transportation Alliance. The County has a unique role in this work, as the entity that can best provide leadership on issues facing the County as a whole. We owe it to our citizens to do whatever we can to help them weather these tough economic times. Living in Illinois, we know that we face very serious challenges at the State level. It falls to local government to make every attempt to provide quality services to our citizens, while not adding to the financial burden created by our State government.