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updated: 9/21/2012 4:35 PM

Robert Larsen: Candidate Profile

DuPage County board District 6 (Republican)

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  • Robert Larsen, running for DuPage County board District 6

      Robert Larsen, running for DuPage County board District 6

 

 

 

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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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Wheaton

Website: http://www.BobLarsen.net

Office sought: DuPage County board District 6

Age: 48

Family: Married for 13 years to my wife, Jane. No children, but godfather to 6 girls.

Occupation: Attorney, partner in law firm Cunningham, Meyer and Vedrine.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Government and Economics (double major), University of Notre Dame, 1986. Law School: Catholic University, 1989

Civic involvement: I spent 21 years serving my Country in the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve. In June 2011 I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. I have also been active for years in the United Way, serving 6 years on the Board of Directors for the United Way for the DuPage Area. I was recently appointed to the DuPage County Board of Health.

Elected offices held: Milton Township Republican Precinct Committeeman -- 2004 - Present Milton Township Trustee -- 2005-2010 DuPage County Board Member -- 11/2010 -- present.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Fiscal responsibility. Government at every level is failing the taxpayers in a disastrous way. DuPage County has been one of the few bright lights in that regard. While the State of Illinois and our Federal Government keep burdening the next generation with mountains of debt, DuPage County has maintained balanced budgets, a Triple A Bond Rating, low taxes and responsible spending policies. Nonetheless, for DuPage to continue its success we must continue to be vigilant. Left alone, government will continue to grow in cost and size beyond the ability of taxpayers to support it. We must be proactive rather than reactive.

Key Issue 2

Providing quality government services in an efficient way. The old ways of doing business do not work any more. Government must start to work more like the private sector. We must appropriately compensate our terrific County employees, but we have to be smart about it. We need to be innovative in how we look at benefits, technology, and consolidation of services. We can still provide the best in public safety, quality public services, strong law enforcement, etc., while controlling costs if we are smart about it, and are not afraid to find new ways of doing business.

Key Issue 3

Jobs. We still have far too many people in DuPage County who are out of work and hurting. Just throwing money at the problem won't solve it. The best way to generate quality jobs in DuPage is to create the best possible environment for business. Businesses want streets that are safe for their employees, quality schools for their children, low taxes, and top notch infrastructure. DuPage has been a business leader, and net job producer for decades. Again, that doesn't happen by accident. I will continue to work with businesses to encourage them to come to DuPage County and enjoy what we have to offer. Not only will this create jobs, but it will reduce the tax burden on individuals throughout the County.

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?

I want principled leadership. I see what is happening throughout our State and our Country and it saddens me. As a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel, it is not in my nature to simply sit on the sidelines and complain about things. Now that my time in the Marines is over, I see this as my new mission. I am proud of my accomplishments on the County Board thus far, but there is more to be done. I want to continue that progress. I believe my educational background and my integrity make me an ideal person to serve the people of DuPage County.

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?

I have been extremely busy in my time on the Board. I participated in the committee that oversaw a significant overhaul of our health insurance program for employees, saving the taxpayers millions. I also worked with another committee that comprehensively reviewed and amended our personnel sick and vacation policies, thereby saving millions more for the taxpayers. I supported the strengthening of our ethics and procurement ordinances to ensure DuPage County maintains the highest ethical standards. However, I am most proud of my leadership in working out a cooperative agreement between Kane County and DuPage County wherein Kane is now housing our youth detainees. This year alone this agreement will save taxpayers close to $2 million, and these savings will continue year after year. This agreement, first raised in committee, would have died there had I not stepped in and led the fight. I spent many hours meeting and working with officials from both Counties to ensure our children would be protected, and the citizens of both Counties would benefit from this "win-win" agreement. This is a terrific example of a new way of doing business that will provide top notch services while reducing expenses. It also allowed us to lease the space to the Joseph Academy, thereby bringing in another $140,000/year, and providing an alternative to incarceration for trouble students.

How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?

There is no question DuPage County is growing more ethnically diverse, even while population growth has somewhat stagnated. We must embrace the benefits of this diversity, while not losing the character of who we are as a County. DuPage County, like America, works best when every voice is heard, and the special and unique talents of everyone are brought to bear. We must not fear people who don't look or speak quite like us, but neither should we be expected to change who we are when we welcome new people to our County. For instance, I highly encourage the teaching of foreign languages in school (I took Advanced Placement Spanish in high school), but I believe our foreign-born new DuPage citizens must do what they can to assimilate into our great County as well. They cannot just expect the County to change to suit them, and from those I have met, I don't think they really want that anyway.

If incumbent, are you satisied your attendance at county board/committee meetings has been adequate? Describe the rough percentage of meetings you've attended. If non-incumbent, are you aware of the incumbent's attandance record and is it adequate?

I am satisfied with my attendance, though I always strive for 100% attendance. According to Better Government Association statistics, I attended nearly 93% of all Board and Committee meetings. My attendance was third best on the entire Board, and I attended more meetings than all but one other Board Member. Of course, attendance alone is not enough. I have worked hard to make sure that when I go to meetings I am prepared for the meetings. I do not just show up. I review the materials ahead of time, and ask the questions that need to be asked. Anyone can go to a meeting, but the citizens expect participation and leadership.

What is your stance on county board members' pay? Too high, too low, just right? Would you propose any changes? Do you think county board members should receive pensions? If not, would be willing to pledge not to take one?

The current pay for DuPage County Board Members is fairly reasonable, and I voted to freeze it for the next fours years with no increases. Board Members are paid less now than they were several years ago. And while people will always complain that elected officials are paid too much, we want to ensure we get quality people, not just the independently wealthy or people with nothing else to do with their time. Given campaign expenses, and the time away from my law practice, I certainly did not run for office to make more money. That is one reason I have also chosen NOT to take a pension. I oppose a fixed benefit pension plan for County Board Members. We are already spending too much for the pensions of people who are no longer on the Board. In that regard I put my own money where my mouth was, and said no to this perk.

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