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.
City: Burr Ridge
Office sought: DuPage County board District 3
Family: Married - Janet Ryan Grasso May 1978 (34 years) 6 children - 5 sons, 1 daughter
Education: Georgetown University, Washington DC - BS/SFS '73 Johns Hopkins School of Adv Internat'l Studies (Bologna, Italy) 1973 (European Certificate) Fordham University Law School, NYC, JD/'78
Civic involvement: DuPage County Board of Health: 1999-2012 St. John of Cross School Board - early '90s St. John of the Cross Parish Council - mid '90s Thomas Ford Library Board: 1990-95
Elected offices held: Mayor of Burr Ridge, 2005-present; Village Trustee, Burr Ridge, 2003-05
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have never been arrested nor convicted of a crime.
Key Issue 1
Fiscal restraint and efficiency through: (a) real consolidation and shared services of government, including fire and police (and sheriff) services, by horizontal cross utilization of employees, elimination of overlapping programs, and value analyzes of private-public partnerships and intergovernmental agreements with municipalities for shared public services; (b) maintaining and improving infrastructure, especially our roads, as a good use of taxpayer money. Capitalization of these programs can be done through responsible borrowing (at historically low interest rates) with a defined financing revenue stream for each project.
Key Issue 2
Lead the way for responsible pension programs with no additional sweetners of current benefits and justification of current benefits. Transparency of pension programs has been amazingly absent and must be brought into the public spot-light and compared to the private sector. We are a capitalistic country too often with socialism based pensions for government workers unheard of in the private sector. That is wrong. Realistic benefits, properly funded programs, without allowing double dipping or spiking of benefits, that are reasonable and sustainable should be the standard. Abuse has to be eliminated where found. We have to show Springfield how to govern these programs properly.
Key Issue 3
Assuring that Springfield does not pass anymore unfunded mandates or raid our county and municipal revenues, or cut our health programs as a way to fix Springfield's budget problems and transfer its liabilities to us.
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?
We need to size government to our budgets. I want to serve the people of District 3 through this mantra:"that's the way it is" government is unacceptable and ruining our standard of living. Let's start doing things right.
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 would bring my legal acumen, family experiences, together with my knowlege of various municipal and public health issues in DuPage (13 years on Board of Health), successes and lessons learned, and advocacy skills to the Board as a voice of can-do in hard fiscal times.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
I doubt anyone has the answer yet. Growth has to met with maintaining and expanding our infra-structure. Just recognizing that there is a need to accommodate our diversity is a good start. I believe DuPage County's diversity grew exponentially since the 2000 census. This growth is being felt in our public health and transportation services which must grow to accommodate this new demand. DuPage's new residents are willing to work hard, get their children educated and make life better for their families; the traditional values that our ancestors brought to America's shores. Infrastructure improvements, strong support of our Board of Health, and Choose DuPage initiatives are short term vehicles to meet this demand - western access to O'Hare is a necessary long term goal to grow jobs and continue DuPage's strong standard of living.
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?
Yes, I am aware of the attendance records of the 2 incumbents. Their attendance is adequate and not an issue.
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 pay is probably about right if the Board size is reduced eventually to 12 instead of the current 18 members. I would support a salary reduction as a symbol of fiscal restraint in these times. I would also ask the Forest Preserve Board to look at these issues as well. There should be no, or only very minimal pensions for public officials. Pensions encourage professional politicians; a plague on the state currently. I would not get a pension as Mayor. I could pledge not to take one as a board member in an effort to get others on the Board to do so. What we need more is term limits in this state. I will advocate for term limits and certainly no double dipping of pensions or benefits for any government employee or elected official.