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: Kane County Board District 22
Family: I am married, my wife Lena and I have been married for 30 years, we have four children ages 14 to 25. My daughter Sarah (14)attends Larkin High School, my son Tommy (19)attends ECC. My sons Steve and John are out of college pursuing graduate school.
Occupation: I have practiced law in Elgin since 1984.
Education: University of Michigan, College of Engineering, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979. University of Illinois, College of Law and received a J.D. in 1983.
Civic involvement: I have been a life long member of the First United Methodist Church of Elgin and currently am a Church Council member, a member of the Sherman Hospital men?s group SHMA and a past president. I am currently a new associate member of the Veterans of Foreign War of Elgin based upon my grandfather?s service in WWI. I am a former member and president of the Elgin Parks advisory board, Anderson Animal Shelter, past president, Elgin Day Care Center, Open Door Clinic, former Cosmopolitan Club Member, Kiwanis Club, and I have volunteered for other organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association, Boy Scouts of America Two Rivers Council, and Children?s Theatre of Elgin. I have also worked in various political campaigns as a volunteer since 1994.
Elected offices held: I have not held elective office.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have received tickets for minor traffic offenses.
Key Issue 1
Issue Number 1. My primary campaign issue is to freeze the Kane County real estate tax levy. The average homeowner?s budget is very tight and Kane County needs to lead in this area by not raising taxes. I will work with the new elected leadership coming to Kane County to accomplish this goal.
Key Issue 2
Issue Number 2. Open and accountable government is my second campaign issue. We need to make sure that bidding opportunities are conducted fairly for all parties and eliminate the appearance that campaign contributions drive county spending and contracting. Honest government in the best interest of the tax payer is my priority.
Key Issue 3
Issue Number 3. I want to bring strong leadership to the Elgin area. I will work seriously and cooperatively with county staff and the new leadership to make certain that the Elgin area benefits equally from county programs and recreational opportunities, in the area of road improvements, forest preserve amenities, voter sites and the like. I also want to provide strong customer service to the area residents to address their concerns and issues with government.
Did the county board get it right when they decided to leave an ethics ordinance that is more stringent but more open to a legal challenge in place? Would you support the creation of more detailed economic interest statements?
Ethics. I intend to maintain the highest ethical standards. This goes beyond any local ethics ordinance or state law. A more detailed EIS is a great idea if it requires office holders to report significant contributions from county contractors and it is made available on the county web site. The current county Board?s ethics law debate seems to be more of a dispute between current leadership and some board members over the appearance of ?pay to play? politics. New leadership will end this dispute and my hope is the board can move on from this issue.
Would you support the buildout of the shell space in the Kane County jail if it could be shown that the space could/would be used to increase profits from housing federal inmates?
Jail Space. I would want this proposal to be put through a strict financial analysis to see if the operations would justify the capital expense. I also would want to know that the federal funds involved are being spent wisely. The federal government is over spending and I do not want the county to foster over spending.
Do you believe the county court system needs a computer system upgrade that might cost as much as $12.6 million? If so, do you support using RTA sales tax money to fund it, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?
Computer. As a practicing attorney I use the Circuit Clerks website and database. It clearly needs upgrading to handle currents users of the system. I hope the 12.6 million dollars cost is a worst case scenario. IT experts will need to guide the county through this process. Many interest groups use this system and it will have a fairly long lifespan as a capital project that can be spread out over several years. If we can issue bonds based on the RTA revenue I might be able to support that. I would also look at savings in other areas, user fees and existing capital funds.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
Raises. I see a strong need for increased salary for the State?s attorney?s office and the public defender?s office and I would make that a budget priority. Kane County is losing good talent to other counties just as the attorneys gain experience. As the economy improves, sales tax collections and other fees should begin to come back, but I would not raise the property tax levy. The county board may need to make hard choices by using zero-base budgeting and review court fines and fees to fund the increase for these staff members.
What aspects of the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment vision created by the task force do you support? What should happen to the old county jail property?
Campus. The campus development plan is a concept plan at this point so each area can be shaped by the county board in the future. What I support most about the campus is that most uses are directed toward private funding and through partnering with non-profit and other groups. I oppose the county getting into any business ventures that should be left to entrepreneurs, such as hotels, music venues, etc. The jail property should be redeveloped as market forces present themselves. Demand for vacant land is very weak at this time, so I would take a wait and see approach until strong development interest is present.