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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.
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Office sought: Elgin Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Engaged, no children
Occupation: Owner/President - Illinois Courier, Inc.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Kentucky, 2000
Civic involvement: USA Racquetball, Illinois State Racquetball Association. I've spent the last seven years promoting and sponsoring the sport as a fun way to fight obesity, especially among youth.
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Making Elgin Township relevant to the residents. This is the foundation for effective change.
Key Issue 2
Taking a proactive approach to General and Emergency Assistance.
Key Issue 3
Elevating Elgin Township as a model of responsible growth for other communities.
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.) The board needs to cut waste immediately. Nothing enrages residents more than to see hard earned tax dollars go to waste, and rightly so. There should be a 30 day deadline to look for possible waste by reviewing documents, audits, and other papers handed over by the previous officers. The issue of whether or not the township road district should continue to exist should be looked at first. It's a huge part of the township budget and a controversial issue. This needs to be looked at responsibly because it involves constitutional concerns and input from involved municipalities. Lastly, township officers and employees should be required to fill out standardized and detailed timesheets. The timesheets should be posted for the public weekly. Transparency in government is essential to waste prevention. 2.) We need to be bold in creating a sense of community. Those in need of General and Emergency Assistance should be approached by us, not the other way around, when it's often too late to do significant good. The Elgin Township needs to put a spotlight on itself and empower the residents to use the resources available. The new board needs to make a commitment to merge our capabilities with the needs of the residents. Brief monthly meetings and annual events aren't enough to get the job done. An Elgin Township Strategic Plan that is proactive and cooperative with the City of Elgin, the Village of South Elgin, Kane County, and relevant organizations should be developed within three months. The Plan should come up with solutions involving the spirit of active communication, resource pooling, and accountability. The Plan's goals need to focus on educational and job training for those most in need. 3.) Responsible Growth is a goal any relevant government body should be heavily involved in. The old solutions of patchwork assistance don't address the problems. Responsible growth means having a sustainable approach to our economy and environment. The Elgin Township has the power to purchase private property, to sue (and be sued), etc. This means that real change can happen for the community. Collaborations with surrounding townships can bring big ideas and results for long term community development.
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 first meeting of the new term should answer the question, "Should we exist? If so, why?" If we shouldn't exist, then the Board needs to spearhead a petition for referendum right away. The residents have the power to do this at any time if they wish. I?m optimistic, however, that the Elgin Township can serve a new role as a catalyst for economic development and community identity. Our function can be as a facilitator and coordinator. We will usually be in the background, networking and teaming with other forms of government to achieve a common goal. The township will serve as a think tank, planning body, and advocate for economic and community concerns.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibility of township government should be to create a sense of community. Every resident that falls on hard times should think of the township offices as a first step of relief. Every resident that has an idea or concern about his/her "community" should think of the township as a first step for answers.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
In the areas of the Road District's and the Township Assessor's operating budget there needs to be performance audits done to ensure efficiency. When the Assessor and Highway Supervisor make comfortable salaries of around $90,000/yr., in a township with double digit unemployment, they have an obligation to justify those earnings. They also need to justify their number of full and part time employees. The Road District presents a unique problem. The tax burden for road maintenance is felt by the whole township, rich and poor. However, the few roads maintained by the township mostly run along upper income houses. The residents of those houses are aware of the situation and are active voters. It's my goal to shine a light on the facts and ask the rest of the township residents their opinion. The safety nets of General Assistance and Emergency Assistance are already on a diet and should not be trimmed. These programs should be administered effectively and efficiently. Also, the Elgin Township building sits empty too often, but has many great potential uses.
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 have been fortunate in my life to endure poverty, adversity, and later become a small business owner. I have compassion and empathy for those that are jobless, aren't sure if they can pay the rent, etc. because I lived in that situation throughout my whole childhood. Education and hard work was the fastest way to a better life for me. However, any person that claims to do it on his/her own is not telling the truth. In creating and operating my business I?ve learned the value of working with diverse people withoutside the box? ideas. I?ve done more than my share of problem solving involving contracts, employees, and service issues. A Trustee should be an extrovert and a problem solver. My personality, experience, and skills will bring a fresh perspective to the Board.