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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: Hanover Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Single mother of two children, both currently in college. My Son is in AFROTC and daughter is set to graduate this Spring.
Occupation: IT Professional with over 20 years of experience for fortune 500 companies.
Education: Masters of Information Systems Management from Keller Graduate School (2012) Bachelors in Education from Osmania University (1980)
Civic involvement: 5 years serving on the Community Relations Commission for the Village of Streamwood. Certified Domestic Violence Advocate - monitor hotline calls for over 15 plus years. Served as a job placement trainer for WorkNet of Northern Cook County for 2008-2009. Board member on the State of Illinois General Assembly Grants for 5 years. Mentoring professionals for networking and community leadership skills for Chicago area non profit organization for last 3 years.
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My primary focus is to increase civic engagement in Hanover Township and give everyone a sense of ownership in our future. Hanover Township needs to focus on our youth. I want to work to create additional resources for our young people such as mentoring, job training and opportunities for internships that will support them in a tough job market. We need to have alcohol, drug and teen pregnancy counseling available for the young people in our community who need early intervention and support to make changes in their lives before it's too late. If we invest in our newest generation, they?ll be here to support our oldest generation.
Key Issue 2
One of the biggest economic problems facing us is the lack of resources available to help our armed service veterans transition from military life to civilian life. They deserve more than a "welcome home." I want to make Hanover Township a positive example for veterans assistance programs. I will put emphasis on our returning Veterans and work to make sure we aid them in a smooth transition back into our community by supporting them on social, educational, and emotional issues, as well as job training and employment counseling.
Key Issue 3
We have had ballooning healthcare costs, which have put enormous strains of public budgets from Washington to Springfield. Part of reducing those costs involves personal health. I want to expand on services which are designed to improve the physical and mental health of all our 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.) I want to create a Hanover Township that is a friend to residents. I think it's important that, in a stifled economy, that we help residents find some property tax relief by guiding them through an appeals process much easier. With an estimated $2 million budget surplus for FY 2013, we can afford property tax relief. By putting more money in the pockets of our residents, they can help spur the local economy by investing it in our local shops. 2.) 59% of our entire budget is allocated towards overhead in Administrative costs and maintenance. 4% is devoted to Veterans' Services and 3% to community health. I would like to reduce administrative costs and increase funding to Veterans Affairs and Emergency Services. This is a huge problem when you consider that out of 10,111 Illinoisans on active duty and many will be coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, we need to ensure their transition is as smooth as possible. This is why I will be a voice for Veterans Funding on the board. 3.) Community health is also important, that is why President George W. Bush committed to doubling the number of individuals that visit community health centers and why President Obama provided nearly $2 billion for Community Health. Demand for these affordable care centers is rising, especially as the cost of private care is rising. Healthcare costs consist of nearly 62% of all bankruptcies in America. This could mean vacant homes and decreasing property values. I will petition the board to increase funding to these services.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
While I understand that the Illinois General Assembly seeks to reduce the layers of government by eliminating townships, they provide critical services that villages do not. Often times economic development is subsidized by the tax payers. That's to say businesses receive generous tax exemptions and breaks in exchange for relocating. The villages and school districts make up for this lost revenue by increasing sales taxes, imposing vehicle registration stickers, and increasing local property taxes. They simply "pass the buck" from the shops to us. Villages often don't provide affordable health clubs, libraries, or veterans services. They opt for becoming a depository of tax dollars and not an integral and active member of the community.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Townships vary depending on their states. In Pennsylvania, Townships replace municipal governments; providing police and fire protection; putting them on the same level as city governments here. This gives townships in Illinois some leeway in what they can be. I think in someways township governments can be the administrator of community standards. They provide for our libraries and our health facilities. Thus, they can be active players in building our communities and investing in them an idea that the future belongs to everyone.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
As indicated before, Hanover Township devotes almost as much of their budget to administrative costs as the Federal Government dedicates to mandatory spending. A budget is a illustration of a government's priorities. Hanover Township is saying it's more important to provide more staff jobs and have nice buildings, than it is to keep our streets safe, care for our veterans, and general public health. We don't need to trim so much as we do reassign our priorities.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
As a certified Domestic Violence Advocate, I know that every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in America. Furthermore, I know that 660 crimes were reported last year. As an IT Professional, I can modernize and upgrade our systems 'in house", reducing costs for outside, for-profit, contract work. I am honest, passionate and committed to community service. I have been on the Streamwood Community Relations Commission for over 5 years and thrive on serving the community. Hanover Township's demographic has evolved and changed since I first settled in this area 25 years ago, and I want to be one of the public faces of that change to inspire and unite all of us!