Kurt Kojzarek: Candidate Profile
Kane County board District 19
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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: Kane County board District 19
Family: Married to Elissa Kojzarek (formerly Stowell) since 2010. Father to infant son, Robbie. Father is Kurt F. Kojzarek. Mother Janet Kojzarek passed away in 2002. One brother (Kevin Kojzarek - 27) and one sister (Kara Kojzarek - 26).
Occupation: Vice-President of Marketing, Property Specialists, Inc.
Education: Bachelors of Arts, University of Illinois, 2001; Associates of Arts, Elgin Community College, 1999; Diploma, Larkin High School, 1997; St. Thomas More Parochial School, 1993
Civic involvement: Past Kane County representative for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning CAC; Past Elgin VFW Post 1307; Auxiliary Member 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Msgr. Henry Schryer Council 654; Past Elgin City Commissioner for the Elgin Centre; Township Officials of Illinois; Trustee for Epworth UMC; Parishioner at St. Thomas More and Epworth UMC
Elected offices held: Elgin Township Trustee (2005 - 2008); Elgin Township Clerk (2008 - Present); Republican Precinct Committeeman (2003 - Present)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal Responsibility: The number one issue in my platform is the number one issue facing every family in our nation. When hardworking residents are forced to cut back their expenses, so too should our elected government officials. If elected, I propose freezing the current tax levy as an immediate step, while the new County Board reviews all current spending and finds ways in which to cut waste. I oppose "gimmick" tax cuts such as the proposal to cut taxes for a single year by eliminating the capital funding. These types of gimmicks are based on political maneuvering rather than sound fiscal management, and have no place in government. We also need to review the overall capital plan for the county, assessing how we can better utilize existing facilities.
Key Issue 2
Job Creation: While government doesn't create jobs, it is charged with creating and sustaining a business friendly climate that encourages job growth in the private sector. The private sector is the economic catalyst that drives our economy. Kane County can do a much better job or attracting high end employers by ending the practices of nickel and diming them with higher taxes and fees.
Key Issue 3
Ethics: Residents want transparency, honesty, and integrity. They want their leaders to read the bills, come prepared, and vote their district. I am advocating opening the books, and establishing an online checkbook detailing county expenses. This initiative would make it more difficult for departments to hide wasteful spending. Political donations will no longer be a litmus test for government appointments.
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?
I do support a stricter ethics ordinance for both employees and elected officials, and believe reestablishing the trust between government and the people we represent should be a priority of any candidate running. We need to be transparent in all County operations. I have always maintained a high ethical standard, and intend to continue to do so as a member of the Kane County Board.
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?
The shell space was originally created to support future expansion as our county?s inmate population necessitates. The original intent was sound, designed to prevent the need for another facility once the current one reached capacity. If the jail was below capacity, and the federal government would pay all or a portion of the buildout needed to house their inmates, I would be supportive of the proposal. However, we currently find that the jail is exceeding capacity, and have not been privy to the negotiations of who will pay for the new infrastructure required before the federal inmates can be relocated. At current, I do not believe that we should be renting out space that we ourselves need to utilize, nor do I completely trust the federal government?s ability to pay in a timely manner when they are currently running record deficits.
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?
The current court system is no longer functional in today's cyber ready world. Rather than patch and play, the County should have been planning for upgrades or replacements years prior. This issue speaks to the larger problem within the County, which is a lack of forward planning. When reviewing the technological needs of the County, we must continually re-evaluate each application to determine whether our County is meeting the need that exists. When purchasing a replacement system, it is imperative that we find a software program that can adapt to future needs. In the private sector, my company chose such a product that is utilized to manage the thousands of homeowner clients we serve. As our needs continued to grow, we are able to modify the software and adapt to issues not previously foreseen. We recognized that such flexibility was needed when we originally purchased the product. Kane County should follow a similar model. The purchase of such software should be seen as a capital improvement to the County's overall operations. Since the County did not establish a long term funding strategy for a future replacement, the next County Board will be forced to examine all possible means of funding available.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
I believe Kane County is losing talented legal minds due to noncompetitive wages, and would be in favor of increasing their compensation as long as the funding did not come from the general funds. The next County Board will need to work within the statutory requirements to find additional resources to increase the wages of these offices without increasing our homeowners? property taxes. All departmental budgets should be constructed through zero-base budgeting in order to find and eliminate wasteful spending and under-preforming programs. Savings could be designated towards more suitable ventures.
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?
I have several reservations over the current proposals, as to date we have not seen a completed economic or environmental impact study on the ramifications of the proposed uses. Before moving forward, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the sentiment of the surrounding communities that will be directly impacted by the increased traffic, noise pollution etc.. Any person who currently lives near the Ravinia venue which serves as a model for the proposed Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus can attest that living conditions suffer during concerts. Kane County is already anticipating additional traffic in the area as ticket sales for the Kane County Cougars will likely increase if the Chicago Cubs relocate their minor league affiliate to neighboring Elfstrom Stadium, which is also looking to serve as a concert venue. Presently, I?m not sure the Board has adequately reviewed all these variables to the extent in which they should. The 19th district encompasses both the Paul Wolf and Eagles Forest Preserves. If a redevelopment project was planned in either preserve, I would want to hold hearings to better understand my constituents? concerns over a proposal that would have such a major impact on their neighborhoods. We owe it to the community to allow them to have their voices heard. Once the environmental and economic impact studies are presented and residents are given their chance to speak to the matter, I would need to know the planned funding sources for the capital improvements. I would favor a private entity with understanding of how to run and properly maintain the finished product, rather than creating another level of county bureaucracy that would inevitably become more of a drain on the taxpayers than a funding source. The county should not be in a rush to finalize these plans. The current real estate market is too low to return any profit on the old jail. It is my hope that upon further review and careful planning, the county can develop a proposal that is acceptable to the community, and profitable to the county as a whole.
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