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: Arlington Heights
Office sought: Arlington Heights Village President (4-year Term)
Family: Married for 34 years to Prospect High School sweetheart, Sue Hayes Two Children: Daughter Tara (age 32); son Tim (age 30) and daughter-in-law Aneli
Occupation: Attorney-at-Law McKenna Storer Chicago, IL
Education: BS General, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY in 1978 JD, DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, IL in 1986
Civic involvement: Member of The Drive to Revive Memorial Park and Veterans Memorial Committees (2007-Present)
Elected offices held: Arlington Heights Village Trustee, 1991-Present Arlington Heights Village President Pro Tem (appointed by Mayor with consent of the Board, 1999-Present)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
I believe the primary role of Village government is to provide a high level of essential services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. Recently, there have been positive signs of economic recovery and as Mayor, I will continue working with other Board members to limit spending and keep tax levies in check, which will help facilitate resident and business retention. Ultimately, it will be my duty to balance fiscal responsibility and the desire to preserve and advance the quality of life we enjoy in our community.
Key Issue 2
I hear from residents the concern over empty storefronts throughout the Village as a result of past economic downturn. My plan is to encourage a vibrant business community through aggressive retention and attraction programs and a more business friendly development and approval process. While applicable codes and standards ensure quality developments, we must do all we can to make the process as user friendly as possible for businesses, as well as residents wanting to build or improve their homes.
Key Issue 3
Arlington Heights just proudly celebrated its 125th year as a Village. As Mayor of an older Village, my aim will be to address our aging infrastructure, facilities, and forestry which have recently been impacted by natural events. Flooding caused by the overwhelming rains of July 2011 devastated many of our residents and the Emerald Ash Borer has the potential to decimate the mature urban forest we cherish. With the help of many residents providing critical information regarding flooding and parkway ash trees, the process of crafting well planned, fiscally responsible solutions to these village-wide issues is underway. Moving forward, I will continue to expand this collaboration with residents to help solve issues we have yet, but are sure to face.
After 20 years of one person leading Arlington Heights, how do you see yourself as the new mayor? Will you primarily continue the or do you see yourself as an agent of change? If so, describe in what ways.
I believe the quality of life we enjoy in Arlington Heights is second to none. As senior Trustee and President Pro Tem, I have had the opportunity to actively build consensus among my fellow Board members and have developed a deep understanding of the issues that affect the Village of Arlington Heights. As a practicing trial attorney, I understand the importance of the opening statement and will be the first one out of the box to speak on issues that come before the Board in order to provide a framework for effective discussion. I will scrutinize every program and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to achieve our common goals. I will persist in building strong relationships with all of our community partners and be sensitive to the needs of residents and businesses. I will continue with current policies, but by the will of the Board, will be committed to making positive changes.
Talk about your position on term limits for municipal elected officials, and explain why you support or do not support them.
I believe that term limits are secondary to the major issues the Board is currently dealing with such as aging infrastructure, flooding, Emerald Ash Borer disease, unfunded pension liabilities, the need for a new police station, and navigating our economic recovery. That being said, the terms of our elected officials are, and should be, decided by the voters each and every time they enter the voting booth. It is my opinion that mandated term limits force dedicated public servants out of office and diminish the critical historical perspective they provide to the decision-making process. Any change to our long established form of government should be decided by the people through the referendum process. Should a properly worded referendum on the ballot pass, I will fully support the people's decision.
What is your position on housing for the mentally ill in Arlington Heights? Would you ever support it in a residential area, or only in an industrial or commercial area?
It is not easy to balance the growing housing needs of the mentally ill and the concerns of surrounding neighborhoods. In my tenure as Trustee, I have done my best to recognize and be sensitive to the needs and concerns of all residents. As future proposals are presented, I will evaluate each on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the nature of the proposed development or site involved.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
The two biggest sources of our general fund revenue are property taxes (of which the village controls only 11.6% of our bills) and sales taxes. In order to keep the village portion of our property taxes as low as possible, we need to do all we can to enhance our sales tax revenue to include filling our vacant storefronts. While most of our local sales tax is imposed by the state and other taxing bodies, we must keep any home rule additions to the rate to a minimum in order to encourage shoppers to stay in Arlington Heights and support our local businesses. Enhancements to sales tax revenue should be achieved through increased sales volume resulting from aggressive marketing efforts rather than increased tax rates.
What are the village's biggest public safety concerns? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
It is concerning to hear media reports and read police blotters reflecting a lack of respect for person and property. I have always believed that my primary obligation as Village Trustee is to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of our residents. Nothing is more important. Supporting and maintaining fully equipped, trained, and adequately staffed police and fire departments will remain my top priority. I will continue to support community based educational programs between our public safety personnel and residents such as the Citizens Police Academy, Crime Stoppers, Community Police Info Network, and the Citizens Observer Program which are critical to establishing trust, encouraging prevention efforts, and ultimately ensuring a safe and secure community.