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: Grafton Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Single mother to newlywed daughter Liz (husband Jason) and son Mike (wife Lina), proud grandmother to their two children (Hudson & Zoey) My happy family is completed by my 88 year old mother Joan, my brother Bob (wife Lyn), and sister Wendy(husband Steve)
Occupation: Business woman, have owned my own small business for 20+ years.
Education: Two years of college, business curriculum
Civic involvement: Village of Huntley Trustee 8 years Zoning Board member Founder of the Huntley Fall Fest Organized the Paint-A-Thon and the year long, Landscape Renovations of the Green Trees complex, which provides housing for our local low income senior and developmentally disabled adults. An active Huntley Jaycee President of the Huntley Historical Society Host of a weekly interview show on Huntley Community Radio Winner of three different Community Service Awards: 1.Huntley Chamber of Commerce 2006 Community Involvement Award 2.Huntley Park District Community 2008 Service Award Winner 3.Award of Recognition from the McHenry County Housing Authority Active member of Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church A "connector" for those looking to help and those that need it.
Elected offices held: Village of Huntley Trustee, 2 terms
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Bringing peace & normalcy back to Grafton Township. Stop the Lawsuits. As a leader you have to learn to work together to get goals accomplished. One person saying they want to lower taxes does not get it done, you have to know how to implement programs, how to get consensus of your Board of Trustees to get behind any new idea. We, as a board, need to get the financials in order, we need to get all the audits up to date, we need to stop wasting money on lawyers, stop spending our time in court rooms and start helping make Grafton Township something to be proud of, not the subject of jokes & gossip.
Key Issue 2
Helping people People, who are down on their luck, used all their resources, people who need a helping hand. The working poor have trouble buying milk - how about using some of our surplus of General Assistance Funds to purchase fresh milk, at wholesale, for the Grafton Food Pantry on Allison Court. Senior issues- our Township bus is the ONLY public transportation in the area. Once you lose your ability to drive, you can become a prisoner in your own home. To keep people out of nursing homes, we need that service to be more user-friendly to the rider, not the office that does dispatch. Also, that bus formally was used by developmentally disabled adults; it should be open to them also. Our Senior Bingo event has become a "to the highest bidder" event- we need that event to be more about enjoyment and less about selling services. Cooperation- Restore Friendly Attitudes in the Township Dental Help Program- those at low income levels often have terrible dental health, we can use Township services to help that. Diabetes Clinic- working with local health professionals - help with diabetes testing & better diet information. Diaper Bank Program- getting baby & adult diapers to those in need. Eyeglass Assistance- working with the Lions and Eye Health Professionals to get glasses for low income residents. Financial Assistance and Education- working with our County to host programs, close by, to help you to keep your home. Grant Writing- when we have completed audits we will once again be able to apply for transportation grant monies to help us update our fleet and serve the public transportation needs. If we stop all the legal battles, we will be able to really update our fleet. Medical Assistance Vouchers- help with emergency needs for low income residents.
Key Issue 3
Let's help get people back to work. Bring back the Job Center to the Township. Work together with other organizations to offer career, clothing, personal grooming, and job search counseling at little or no cost, to help get our residents back on their feet.
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. All Township files should be in order. Pay all outstanding bills. Put all financials records in order. All four years of audits need to be completed. Find out what happened, how, when and why- it is said that this Township will be broke for the first few months of the new administration- they will need a loan- where will it come from? How much will it cost? There are some bills that are 3 to 4 years old- they need to be paid, along with their late-fees. Start a fresh slate. 2. The Township office needs to be an open, friendly place to offer help and assistance to our residents. Not under lock and key, to reach the official you have elected to serve. Put the coffee on, start new programs, new projects, be welcoming of all. Start cooperating with other local governments and charities; let's help as many people recover from this horrible economy that has plagued us for the past 4 years. 3. Open the books, Open the files, be as transparent as possible- this is public information, FOIA should not be necessary - put every possible file on the web site, instant access to all taxpayers and press. Only personal, sensitive files will not be put up.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
I believe Townships still play a vital role in our society. Municipalities take care of basic needs, like snowplowing and water services. But they do little for the enrichment of seniors; do little for helping the poor. The Township not only takes care of these issues, it can be much more enriching than it is. If County or State government was to take over these roles; the poor and seniors would have to drive too far for service, then the County would put up local offices we already have that- Township offices. Don't trade one low taxing entity for a higher taxing entity.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Townships are the catch all for poor, working poor, seniors and disabled adults. Grafton takes care of residents in parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Huntley, Lakewood and the Southwestern section of Crystal Lake. Also, there are unincorporated areas. None of those towns have programs that take care of desperate people, outside of helping them with water bills. The Assessor's office takes in local comparisons to make your tax bill fairer. The Road District takes care of roads that are outside of any municipality/County/State roads. Each of these has its own budget, but the Supervisor is responsible for writing the checks to pay each entity's bills. I will pay the bills correctly and therefore end those lawsuits also.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Yes, in Grafton our legal bills have got to go down way down!In these hard economic times- Townships should be spending more on public programs, not less. Township are helping their residents stay out of shelters, stay out of nursing homes and in their own homes longer, that saves tax dollars as a whole. Other Townships are doing extensive recycling programs, helping with job training and job search, they sometimes do Senior Diners; some have health clinics for well-being checks for seniors and low-income children. Most tax payers pay less for their Township tax bill than their subdivision Association fees per year. Townships are tight with dollars but give a lot of services to their 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?
Since I moved to Huntley in 1999 I have tried to make a difference in my community. Early on, I put out a neighborhood newsletter and hosted informational meetings about SSA?s. I spent years going to Village meetings to learn more about my new town and how things got accomplished. After several years, because of my interest and new-found knowledge I was appointed to the Zoning Board. Finally, I ran against seven others to win one of three Trustee seats eight years ago. During my 20+ years of owning my own business I spent many hours doing payroll, taxes, dealing with insurance, employee issues, scheduling and serving the public to success. In my years of being involved in Jaycees I have won national awards, local awards, have worked on the Easter Egg Hunt, Roadway Clean Up, Christmas for Kids, TTF, Kids Fishing Derby & countless fund raisers. One of my real talents is selling raffle tickets for a good cause! During my first term I decided we needed a full-scale town festival. It had nothing to do with my being a Trustee- but I knew who to go to for what, who you could count on to get their job done, and with much hard work and determination, it was a great success the first year! It is still going strong 8 years later, much in the same "footprint" as I first designed it. A Supervisor is not aStarter Job?. She should have experience working on a Board of Directors, as I have, as a Village Trustee, for 8 years now; I know how to get along with others, how to work behind the scenes to gather consensus, to get your projects completed, and your important programs out to the public. I personally know almost every elected official in McHenry County. I have marched in parades with, and for, Senator Mark Kirk, State Representative Mike Tryon, State Senator Pam Althoff, County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill and others. For years I have attended the monthly McHenry County Council of Governments meeting to network for Huntley. I have met Governor Quinn and gone to Springfield to lobby for the betterment of Huntley. Currently, I am President of the young Huntley Historical Society. I am instrumental in projects that help us remember how precious Huntley's history is, that our memories are important. I was hired as the Administrator by the Grafton Trustees because I am known as someone who works hard, gets the job done, and makes real progress for others. I started the AARP 55 Drive Alive senior safety program. I started a Job Center and taught basic computing to seniors who wanted to keep up with the times and their younger relatives. I tried to bring a lot of progress to the Township. During the 10 months that I worked at Grafton Township I got to know the reporting to the State that needs to be done, the budget process, and who gets what done. The Supervisor should have had many chances in life to be a leader; this is noton the job training?. I have been elected twice to public office; have been President of many organizations, won 3 Community Service Awards for my involvement. I have voted down 2 separate tax increases and fought Com Ed. I have seen to completion several municipal programs including the new Garbage pick-up contract, the Leaf Burning Ban and lobbied for our new Centegra Hospital to come to Huntley. The voters of Grafton Township have a chance to make a change, a change towards normalcy, a change towards cooperation. It is time to start helping people, to make a positive difference. Get us out of the courtroom and make real improvement in resident's lives. Vote for me, Pam Fender, for Grafton Township Supervisor on February 26th and again on April 9th 2013.