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: Schaumburg Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: My beautiful wife, Mita, and I have been married for 20 years. We are blessed with two wonderful children: our 16-year-old daughter, Purva, and our 14-year-old son, Moksh.
Occupation: Small business owner (hospitality industry).
Education: Educated in India (diploma in journalism and marketing).
Civic involvement: BAPS Charities, 2007-present; Schaumburg Township Republican Organization, 2011-present; Keokuk Kiwanis Club, 2004-2005; and previously involved in the Lions Club and Red Cross in India.
Elected offices held: None.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
I will use my skills as a small business owner to help ensure that the township operates as efficiently as possible, keeping taxes low while still delivering high quality services.
Key Issue 2
Under current leadership, the township has consistently operated within a balanced budget. As a trustee, I would work with the rest of the board to ensure the township continues to balance its budgets and operate in a fiscally responsible manner.
Key Issue 3
The township is the unit of government that is closest to the people. As trustee, I would like to identify opportunities to increase awareness of the unique offerings of the township and opportunities to partner with outside organizations to enhance the services provided.
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) Keeping taxes low while continuing to provide a high quality of service. (2) Passing a balanced budget. (3) Identifying opportunities to increase levels of service, without additional revenue, through partnerships with outside organizations. Each of these goals will require a thoughtful analysis of service priorities, which analysis should include activity not just at the board or committee level, but also community input. I will work to increase opportunities for such community input, perhaps to include formal or informal trustee office hours or coffee-with-your-trustee events (at no additional taxpayer expense).
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 governments serve unique functions -- prescribed in state statute -- that are not filled by other levels of government. I understand that township government has its detractors; in fact, it has become "fashionable" for some political elites to call for its abolition. However, I have observed first hand the unique niche filled by the township, and I believe the township remains the most well-suited division of government, for example, for serving our local seniors and disabled with the compassion they deserve.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibilities of township government should be: (i) providing general assistance to the indigent and other services to those with unique needs, including seniors, at-risk youth, and the disabled; (ii) assisting taxpayers in their property tax assessment appeals; and (iii) maintaining the roads and bridges in the unincorporated areas of the township.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
I supported the elimination of the position of Township Collector, a position that has no formal obligations within Cook County, and I supported the township's decision to partner with the Kenneth Young Center for the provision of youth services, permitting the provision of more services at less taxpayer expense. As trustee, I will continue to work to identify additional opportunities for cost savings going forward.
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 would add to the township board the unique perspectives of a small business owner. (If elected, I believe I would be the only trustee with such a background.) I know the challenges of meeting a payroll, of doing more with less, and of providing a high quality of service to my customers. At the township, I will apply the lessons I have learned as a small business owner as I review township budgets, develop long-term strategic plans, and endeavor to provide efficient, high quality services to the residents of Schaumburg Township.