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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 Chairman
Family: Married to wife, Sarah, for 31 years with four sons: USMC Capt. Ted (Sarah) Lauzen, a Marine Corps pilot; Elliot Lauzen, investment banking analyst, Wm. Blair & Co.; US Navy Ensign Hans Lauzen, deployed aboard USS Kidd; Rob Lauzen, Dartmouth College
Occupation: Tax Specialist/CPA
Education: Doctoral Candidate in Education Finance, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL; MBA, Harvard Business School, Boston; BS in Management Science/ English, Duke University, Durham, NC
Civic involvement: Geneva Lions Club, Former Board Member of Compassion Foundation, Fox Valley Maoris Rugby Team, Harvard Business School Old Boys Rugby Team, Heart of Illinois POW/MIA Association, Sons of the American Legion, Illinois Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Elected offices held: Initial election to Illinois State Senate, November 1992 Reelection by wide margins 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2010
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Freeze the property tax levy for the County, Forest Preserve, and (indirectly through appointments) Fox Valley Park District. With property values going down while property taxes are going up, we are being taxed out of our homes. The status quo on increasing taxes must be reformed.
Key Issue 2
Restore trust in public service by treating ALL people with respect, not just insiders, and reducing the impact of money in local politics. There is WAY too much money ($1,483,000 for just two election cycles!) flowing into the political fund of this current office to believe that there is NO expectation of systematic political influence to be gained. No matter what the reality might be, there is a public perception (and disapproval of) a culture of cronyism.
Key Issue 3
Honest, competent administration of county business through innovation and austerity. Increase Kane County citizens' wealth through more jobs paying higher wages in the private economy, reducing the costs of living in the county, i.e. property taxes, mortgage interest, utilities and transportation expenses, and dramatically increasing the use of best practices from around the world to improve the quality of life for residents. The status quo is NOT a high enough standard of performance and must be reformed.
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?
Yes. Ethics ordinances without teeth are like snow tires without treads for traction. There is a strong public perception that $1.5 Million of campaign contributions into the political fund for this office over the past two election cycles and a definitely "cozy" correlation between contributions and contracts, jobs, and other favors have created a county culture of cronyism. (See Daily Herald, Jim Fuller article on 2-9-2010 "Kane Official Says No Pay-to-Play, But Banks Big Bucks from Vendors." Kane County example was also referred to by Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.) Suggestions to be included in meaningful reforms: 1. Voluntary refusal of any corporate contributions from "no-bid" contractors. Self-imposed campaign contribution limit from any family member owning one of those companies to $500 per cycle. 2. Will encourage 48-hour disclosure on county website of contributions in excess of $150 from any contractor, employee, or person who brings issues before adjudicating boards (or their family members). 3. Adoption of a "searchable database" system similar to the one DuPage County Treasurer and CPA Grogan has put in place and offered to other counties at no charge. 4. Expand the Ethics Officer position from one person to a three-person panel to investigate complaints, consisting of two representatives from the majority party and one from the minority party so that every constituent has access to what is discussed in ethics meetings.
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 use of the old jail has to fit the long-term facility use plans for county properties and make economic sense. Although I have not seen an economically-feasible plan for the old jail and have been told about some expensive property problems at this site, I will listen and consider all advice and proposals to help county taxpayers and citizens.
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?
Certainly needs upgrade, but not $12.6M. I have been told by three credible sources that our computer has essentially the same hardware capabilities as the computer system used by the DuPage County system . . . with essentially the same foundational software . . . doing essentially similar functions . . . serving even more people than we do. In layman's terms, I have been told that DuPage bought the software upgrades and has done the programming needed to meet that county's demand, but we have not. I picked up the phone a couple of months ago and asked Dan Cronin (DuPage County Chairman who used to sit next to me for several years in the State Senate) if we could piggyback on his investment to get the job done and reduce the cost to our taxpayers. He said, "Sure, happy to help." Once we get caught up, I would anticipate collaborating with similar hardware and software for similar county functions, but spreading the expense over AT LEAST 1.25M people, rather than our 500,000, in order to save taxpayers' money.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
Yes . . . the policy of freezing frontline workers' pay while executive directors receive large raises is penny-wise and pound-foolish and damages morale. I will conduct an inspection of every department from head to toe (along with the management team and our new County Auditor) to eliminate redundancies, streamline procedures, and identify efficiencies in order to free up cash for higher priority expenditures like raises to reduce avoidable turnover. (We will also save recruiting and training costs when we reduce turnover.)
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?
Safety for surrounding residents should be our first concern. Protection of irreplaceable natural resources on Forest Preserve property is another important concern. Also, we need to approach consideration of any expansion of county responsibilities and risk cautiously. I have not studied the plans, costs, and revenues closely enough to draw a conclusion at this time.