Ron Drake: Candidate Profile
Arlington Heights Village President (4-year Term)
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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: Arlington Heights
Office sought: Arlington Heights Village President (4-year Term)
Family: Married, two children, 2 grandchildren
Occupation: Business Development Director
Education: John Hersey High School '75 A.A. Harper College B.S.in Marketing, Northern Illinois University '80
Civic involvement: Volunteer at Frontier Days Citizens Police Academy, Class #14
Elected offices held: Mayor of Avondale 2000-2006 Republican Nominee for Congress 2006 AZ-CD7
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Development of a Sustainable Business Climate, both internally and externally.
Key Issue 2
Taxation and Revenue Generation
Key Issue 3
Term Limits and Continuity of Government Services
After 20 years of one person leading Arlington Heights, how do you see yourself as the new mayor? Will you primarily continue the or do you see yourself as an agent of change? If so, describe in what ways.
The current path the Village is on of continued tax increases on homeowners and businesses to supplant the lack of revenues can no longer be the model for the future. We have many great assets in Arlington Heights and our goal should always be to "enhance" what we have that is good and improve those things that need improving. If elected, I will stay focused on reducing or preventing any new taxes on our residents and businesses. As a result of lowering or preventing additional taxes and other burdens on Arlington Heights residents, a greater emphasis should be placed by the Village to retain and attract new businesses to reduce the taxing pressure we are currently enduring by our Administration. With the help of the many talented residents and business owners, we will enact a Strategic Marketing Plan plan for the Village that will help to develop a "sustainable economy" for the future, one that can better weather downturns in the economy. With this plan focusing on business attraction and retention, we can also then start to address a plan for tax reduction and modification, as well as a plan on efficient use of local municipal resources. Arlington Heights will "Be Open for Business." That will be a culture in the organization, not a campaign slogan. I will engage the community, all of the community! If done in a positive and productive manner, we can take the successes of my predecessors and build on those successes while creating our own new successes for the benefit of all the people in Arlington Heights.
Talk about your position on term limits for municipal elected officials, and explain why you support or do not support them.
I support term limits and believe that, if elected, officials are afforded the honor to serve by a vote of the people then they should serve to the best of their abilities and then move on so new leaders with fresh ideas can serve. Our community has so many talented people that would make great leaders. Term limits would present an open door to those inspired and dedicated to serve. This is not a Monarchy, this is a Democracy. What is good for the President of the United States should be good enough for our elected leaders in Arlington Heights.
What is your position on housing for the mentally ill in Arlington Heights? Would you ever support it in a residential area, or only in an industrial or commercial area?
The mental illness debate is on the forefront of everyone's mind after the occurance of recent events. I believe that all people have dignity but some people are challenged in dealing with day-to-day life. I recognize the need to address the special needs that individuals may have, yet to isolate or place a class of people in a designated area, just to isolate them, is not acceptable. I understand that keeping the community safe must be the first priority of any government, however, not all mental illness is life-threatening. There are integrated homes or facilities that service special needs individuals in communities all over this great nation. Depending on the level of the needs, and the availability of resources to assist those in need, social integration may not always be possible. I guess the question is "would you like to visit your family member who's been placed in an industrial area"? If elected, I will revisit the General Plan for the community and address issues including where we as a community would like to locate businesses, residential, industrial and other resources such as nursing homes and special needs facilities.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
If there were only a harbor and a load of tea nearby! Our nation, state, and local community are experiencing serious financial issues. I strongly believe that "you cannot legislate or in this case tax people into prosperity" to address spending issues and entitlements that we can no longer afford. I believe that if the residents are well informed with accurate information about the service needs, and if the community authorizes a tax on themselves to have those basic services such as public safety, infrastructure, and business development then I would support the will of the voters. My opinion though, is that our residents are taxed too much. I believe that we can work with other governments and the other taxing bodies like the School Boards, Library Board and Park District to consolidate resources, reduce tax burdens, and be more efficient with the resources at our disposal. When visiting with the community, the concern expressed to me time and time again, is that the taxes are out of control and something needs to be done about them. Taxation in Arlington Heights needs to be re-evaluated and re-adjusted so that residents and businesses can afford to stay here. Being taxed out of our homes is Un-American. Of the 19 boards and commisions the Village has created, not one has anything to do with an oversight on our budget. If elected, I plan to work with the Board to create a Budget Commission of residents that will have oversight on the budget and make recommendations to the Board throughout the budgeting process.
What are the village's biggest public safety concerns? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
I strongly believe that we need to have the best trained and equipped police officers and firefighters the Village can reasonably afford. I believe communities can share resources like dispatch and emergency response or incident command centers, like we are currently doing. Mobile command centers for fire and police can be configured so that various agencies and communities are able to benefit from a wiser use of the tax dollar. Consolidating training centers, administrative areas, and maintenance functions will improve not only the service levels but bring many communities together on a consistent basis. Relating to other public safety issues, I believe that our community needs to help police through neighborhood watch programs. The few officers we have can't do it all by themselves. Public safety involves educating our community on what is expected and acceptable behavior. As long as I am Mayor. I will place community safety first on my list as a duty to the people.
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