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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: Antioch Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family:Married for 19 years to Sandra Bluthardt, 2 daughters, Brittany (14) a freshman at Antioch High School and Lauren (12) 7th grade at Antioch Upper Grade School
Occupation:Logistics and trade compliance manager for Cozzini, LLC
Education:BA in political science from Elmhurst College
Civic involvement:Antioch Environmental Commission
District #34 school board
District #34 exploding growth task force
Antioch Township Republican Club
Elected precinct committeeman
Italian American war veterans, associate member
Antioch Gentlemen's League, founding member
Antioch Chamber of Commerce
St. Ignatius of Antioch, vestry member
Elected offices held: District 34 school board member, precinct committeeman
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Fiscal Constraint and Responsibility
Key Issue 2
Lack of Transparency
Key Issue 3
Provide High Quality Programming
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.
Goal number one should be to continue the policy of fiscal constraint and do everything we can as a board to reduce the burden of property taxes on the residents of Antioch Township. Our residents are being forced out of their homes by the heavy burden of property taxes. Even though the township is a very small portion of the overall property tax bill, we need to make sure we are spending each and every dollar properly and with restraint. As a board we should continue to pursue federal and state grants to help offset the costs of programs to the township as well as seek intergovernmental agreements with other communities to offer joint programs that benefit all of our residents.
Goal number two would be to increase the level of transparency and openness on the current township board. This can be handled easily and with little cost by doing things as posting meeting agendas and minutes on the township website, and creating social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter accounts that can spread the word on township activities. Just these couple things would be a 100% improvement over the current situation at the township. I would also like to look at videotaping all township meetings and have these videos posted on the township website, YouTube and Facebook accounts.
Goal number three is a personal goal of mine, but one that I believe will be a great asset to our township and to our seniors and handicap residents specifically. I am going to propose the creation of a Township Handyman Program that would be a free service to the senior and handicapped residents of the township. It would be a program where residents can sign up to have simple repairs done to their homes. This could be the changing of a simple light bulb to fixing a leaky faucet. We wound need to use a combination of volunteers and township employees to handle this work and I would like to pursue federal and state grants to help pay for any and all costs. This one program can make a big impact on many of our resident's lives.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
The validity and need of township government is a question that has existed for years and will continue to be a hot button topic as the state legislature and local governments look for ways to reduce the government burden on taxpayers and look for ways to consolidate local government agencies. I do believe that in more urban areas there is a substantially less of a need for township government then those areas of the state with more unincorporated areas. Specifically in Antioch, there is a need for a township as there is still a large portion of unincorporated areas, and a lack of other government agencies in a position to take over the township responsibilities. Townships do need to change with the times and this can be reflected in the programs they offer as well as the ability of townships to interact with the other government agencies in the area. We need to pursue more intergovernmental agreements to provide high quality benefits and programs to all of the residents within Antioch Township.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
I believe the primary role of township government should be to be a conduit for the residents to a variety of government programs. Primarily the township has responsibility for overseeing the unincorporated areas of Antioch Township, but I would like to see us be more visible in the incorporated areas as well. We need to work with the communities in Antioch Township to make government more efficient and more respectful of the needs, wants and desires of our residents.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Once elected, one of the first items on my agenda is to do a line by line examination of the budget and see if there are any cost savings that can be found. In any budget there are always tough decisions that need to me made and I am prepared to do so. The taxpayers are hurting out there and we need to make sure we are providing the highest quality services we can, while keeping our revenue needs to a minimum. We can do this by seeking Federal and State Grants, while working with other government agencies to cost-share various programs.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
There are a few reasons why I believe I am suited to be elected one of the four township trustees in Antioch. First and foremost is my well rounded background in both the private and public sectors. I have a degree from Elmhurst College, over 20 years of experience in the private sector, many of these spent in upper management roles, have been a small business owner, have held public office and have served on various commissions over the years. Secondarily would be that I have a history of working in township government.
During my college years and for a few years after graduation I worked at Leyden Township. I spent one year as an intern in the Assessor's office, spent almost two years as an assistant to the Supervisor, where I oversaw the summer workers program and other special assignments, worked in the highway department doing everything from branch pick up to animal control to sewer repairs.
Finally, I believe I bring with my candidacy a new generation of Antioch residents who are now prepared to get involved and take pride and ownership in our local governments.