Kathleen Abbate: Candidate Profile
Downers Grove Township Board (4-year Terms) (R)
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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: Downers Grove Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married with two adult children
Occupation: Downers Grove Township Trustee, community volunteer and former banker
Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from St. Joseph's College, Rennselaer, Indiana, 1979 Master of Business Adminstration from Lewis University in Romeoville, 1988
Civic involvement: Member and volunteer of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Darien, elected committeeman since 2007 for the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization, former President of the Concord/Cass PTA and former Darien Citizen of the Year Committee Member for 9 years.
Elected offices held: Downers Grove Township Trustee from 2009 to the present and GOP Committeeman in Darien from 2007 to the present.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To maintain fiscal responsibility
Key Issue 2
To keep taxes low for all township residents
Key Issue 3
To promote transparency in government and to effectively communicate services available to residents
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1)To continue to operate the Downers Grove Township with a balanced budget with NO DEBT. Most recently, our Board voted to reduce Township salaries/benefits which has saved taxpayers thousands of dollars. 2)To maintain the township's excellent services/programs with minimal taxpayer funds. Some of them include: maintenance and snow removal for unincorporated roadways, electronic recycling, life skills and peer jury for our youth, Dial-A-Ride and discounted taxi fare services for our elderly and disabled along with a prescription card program. 3)To promote the Downers Grove Township's programs/services effectively through our new website, updated brochures along with our continued involvement in our local chambers of commerce, park districts and senior committees. We also instituted an annual Open House for Government Week.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Township government provides our residents many benefits along with excellent coordinated services. In addition, they spend and borrow less than other forms of government. Townships have exclusive geographical service areas, so the argument that too many local governments provide duplicate services is not accurate. Township governments are stronger fiscal stewards than your larger county or state goverment. Also, as governments grow in size, their connections to the people they serve diminish. As a result, township residents/voters have more "control" over their government when it is small.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
To provide quality and efficent core services that include the maintenance of unincorporated roadways, property assesments, youth and senior progams, and low income assistance to our needy residents.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Recently, the Downers Grove Township Board voted to cut salaries and benefits for most of our elected officials. In a two term period, these cuts will save the township taxpayers in excess of $570,000. In addition to these reductions, the township is currently pursuing an electrical aggregation program. This progam will reduce electrical costs to our township offices and residents.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have over 4 years of experience as a Downers Grove Township Trustee serving the needs of our community. With a strong internal auditing and banking background coupled with my education, these attributes have brought invaluable insight to the Downers Grove Township Board. My excellent communication skills have allowed me to get things done efficiently and effectively. These qualities along with my high energy level and passion to serve the community make me an excellent choice for retention on the Township Board.
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