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: Aurora Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Proud father of three children William, Zoe and Caleb
Occupation: Self-employed as a writer, copy editor and marketing consultant
Education: Bachelor's of Science in Journalism, Northwestern University, 1990
Civic involvement: I have served on numerous boards in the past 15 years including the A+ Foundation for West Aurora Schools, Fox Valley United Way, Cease Fire, Communities in Schools, West Aurora Volunteers for Education, Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council (ex-oficio); co-chairman, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce golf outing in 2007 and 2008.
Elected offices held: Township Trustee, 2009-present; Democratic precinct committeeman 2009-2011; Chairman, Aurora Democrats, 2009-2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Other than traffic offenses, no.
Key Issue 1
Aurora Township should freeze its property tax levy with the exception of the levy for mental health services, which voters approved by referendum in 1970.
Key Issue 2
The Township Supervisor runs the day-to-day operations and services which the township provides. The township needs a competent and ethical manager of those services.
Key Issue 3
The Township Supervisor and staff needs to explore public and private partnerships to better serve at-risk youth and senior citizens.
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. Upgrade the fleet for Ride In Kane/Dial-A-Ride services and our Youth Center. Our fleet is experiencing high maintenance costs because of its age. The Supervisor and staff should develop a fleet management plan for the next four years within the confines of our current budget and execute it. 2. Expand services for at-risk youth through recreational programs run by Youth Center staff. Our youth center is a victim of its own success. We need to develop more partnerships - public and private - to avoid duplication of services and to expand our programming in the center, our soccer field and the community. 3. Promote the senior service center in Aurora that we subsidize as well as our lawn mowing and snow removal programs and expand offerings with more public and private partnerships.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Here in Aurora Township, the unincorporated areas have not been "gobbled up" by our three municipalities in recent years. One could argue that townships such as our could be dissolved and our duties transferred primarily to Kane County, but I believe the level of service would decline significantly. We also fund a successful senior center as well as a youth and community center as well as a popular Dial-A-Ride program. We also levy approximately $1.1 million in property taxes on behalf of the INC 708 board to provide badly needed mental health services.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
As defined by state law, townships are responsible for general and emergency assistance, property assessment and road and bridge maintenance in the unincorporated areas. While some would not consider them primary responsibilities, we also provide important services for at-risk youth and senior citizens. We subsidize a senior center and own and operate a youth and community center, which are needs in our community. We also operate a popular Dial-A-Ride program for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Under the current supervisor, our Dial-A-Ride program has gone significantly over budget - $400,000 over budget in our last fiscal year. The program needs better management and oversight.
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 more than 20 years of experience in and out of government - as a Beacon-News reporter, as an Assistant Chief of Staff in the mayor's office of the City of Aurora and as a township trustee. I have also been an active community volunteer because I believe to whom much is given, much is expected. As a township trustee, I know the township staff and operations intimately and am the only candidate who knows how to fix our problems immediately.