Abraham Lee: Candidate Profile
Maine Township Board (4-year Terms) (Dem)
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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.
City: Des Plaines
Office sought: Maine Township Board (4-year Terms)
Occupation: Art Teacher in Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62
Education: National Board Certified Teacher (2012) Master of Education in Public School Administration & Supervision (2005), Loyola University Chicago Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education (1999), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Civic involvement: Bay Colony Phase One Condominium Owners Association, President Des Plaines Public Schools Benefit Association, President Des Plaines Elks Club, Bingo Captain Korean American Coalition - Chicago, Former Board Member
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Reduce our residents' property taxes so that they are not double taxed for duplicate services that are provided by the township government and their own municipal government.
Key Issue 2
Eliminate various perks for part-time elected officials such as the state pension and generous healthcare benefits.
Key Issue 3
Roll back the salary increase that the current board of trustees approved for themselves. Their salaries must be commensurate with duties they perform and comparable to what the surrounding township officials make. I will not vote to increase my salary.
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.
The public safety and wellbeing of Maine Township residents must be our top objective, and the board must work closely with local law enforcement agencies to keep the crime rate down and make it tough for gangs to recruit new members in Maine Township. I am a teacher and it is extremely disheartening to see young people with a lot of potentials either become gang members or victims of gang violence. The board should develop a plan to beautify the unincorporated areas by having some type of beautification committee through which volunteers can meet periodically to clean up their neighborhoods. This will send a message to our residents and visitors that the folks living in Maine Township deeply care about and have high expectations of their community. The board needs to evaluate the infrastructure condition of the unincorporated areas and take a proactive approach in maintaining and repairing aging systems, roads, and bridges. We should actively seek various grants to fund our projects and rectify any hazardous areas that could potentially cause serious property damages and injuries to our residents. All of the above will keep our property values up, attract high quality residents and businesses, and have a positive and constructive impact on our residents' livelihoods.
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 is still necessary because it is easily accessible to residents who need an immediate and in-person assistance and do not have the means to travel far to get these services, especially those who reside in unincorporated towns. The services provided by the offices of clerk and assessor are crucial. However, once I am elected I will cooperate with all the stakeholders to develop a plan to streamline the government services and seek ways to not overtax our residents for duplicate government services.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibility of township government is to provide general assistance to the most economically disadvantaged residents so that they can stand up on their feet and become productive and contributing members of our community. Maine Township represents residents living in unincorporated areas, and it should provide efficient and responsive services as a conduit between Cook County and our residents at the grassroots level.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
At this point, I cannot comment on specific expenses/programs that I am willing to trim or eliminate until I have some time to evaluate them thoroughly once I am elected. I support sustaining various social service programs that benefit our seniors, children, at-risk youths, veterans, and people with disabilities. I will not hesitate to cut costly expenses/programs that are just superficial in nature. Furthermore, cutting salaries and perks for part-time elected officials is definitely in my plan.
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 currently serve as the president of Bay Colony Phase One Condominium Owners Association, which represents 444 units, and during my term, my priorities have been maintaining a healthy operating account, building up our reserve fund, and reducing our delinquency rate. By working collaboratively with the board of directors and property management company, we have been achieving these goals. This year's balanced budget reflects 10% of our operating monies going into our reserves, and our delinquency has been decreased by about $37,000 since January 2012. I also have been elected a delegate to both Illinois Education Association and National Education Association Representative Assemblies for the past several years. Through this experience, I profoundly realized the significance of the government's role in properly managing the public funds and respecting the taxpayers. When elected Maine Township Trustee, I will be a dependable and prudent steward of your precious tax dollars and make sound expenditure decisions that would not burden you financially and morally.
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