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updated: 2/14/2014 10:40 PM

Cynthia Santos: Candidate Profile

Metro. Water Reclamation District (Democrat)

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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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BioQ&A

 

Bio

City: Chicago

Website: www.CynthiaSantos.com

Office sought:

Metro. Water Reclamation District

Age: 52

Family: Husband: Richard Bradley Daughter(Son-in-Law) Cristine and Ezio Realmuto Step-Daughter: Meghan and Julianne Bradley Grandson: Collin

Occupation: Commissioner - MWRDGC and Development Director, Saint Viator Parish

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Political Science

Master's Degree in Political Science with a Public Administration Focus - graduation Fall 2014

Also a Certified Substitute Teacher

Civic involvement: Board Member: Interfaith Council for Detained Immigrants

Board Member: St. Viator School Board

Girl Scout Leader

Member: Old Irving Park Association

Member: Villa Improvement League

Member: Irving Park Garden Club

Member: 40th Ward Democratic Organization

Former Member: Chicago Assn. of Realtors

Former Member: Irving Park Community Ministries

Former Beat Coordinator: Chicago Police 17th District

Former Local School Council Member: Murphy Elementary School

Member: Water Environment Federation

Former Member: Belmont Cragin Chamber of Commerce

Former Member (for 12 years) Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Public Building Commission (appointed by my peers as liaison for the MWRD Board)

Elected offices held: I have been elected to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District since 1996. I am also the elected State Central Committeewoman for the 5th Congressional District for the past 14 years. I have been elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention for the Presidential Nomination of Candidate President Bill Clinton and Candidate Al Gore

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is that?

Since 1996, I have been elected to this Board with the task of ensuring that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago remains the leading environmental agency in Cook County. The MWRD has been the long protector of our water resources with limited financial resources in a way that has maintained excellence. My goal is to continue with this mission as the responsible management of this organization, ensuring that sustainable practices are encouraged in every arena and exploring green infrastructure for flood control and storm management.

What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?

My vast experience at the District makes me stand out from my opponents. I have spent most of my professional career here at the MWRD developing and implementing prioritizing plans to meet the rigorous demands of protecting our environment and the sustainability of our resources. I have remained a leading advocate for disinfection, upgrading our plants to address the demanding needs of development and subsequent treatment flows, and ensuring that our water quality in the CAWS improves from nutrient removal processes that meet current environmental demands. I have a keen sense of knowing what questions to ask and how to get the job done. As a life-long community advocate, I am conscious of how this agency affects the daily lives of each and every resident of Cook County.

What special knowledge or experience do you have that particularly qualifies you for this office?

My dedication to the agency for the past 17 years speaks to my qualifications, knowledge and experience. I have served as Chairman of the MWRD Finance Committee charged with maximizing investment interest, issuing bonds to meet capital requirements, managing any debts, and providing general financial management. I have experience in lobbying the general assembly for legislation on behalf of the MWRD that will improve our operation and was a key player in the passage of comprehensive pension reform. I have also gone to Washington to pursue the funding resources needed to complete the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan.

What should the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District do to prevent disasters like the widespread flooding that affected the North and Northwest suburbs recently?

The carbon footprint, climate change, and providing a sustainable environment are forefront of the world stage. It needs to be here too in Cook County and under my leadership is has remained incorporated into the values of the District's strategic plan. Green infrastructure and the development of strategies to prevent disastrous flooding have been front and center during my tenure. Assuming the lead role of storm water management was encouraged by me since these discussions began a decade ago and have now come to fruition. I will remain devoted to addressing wide spread flooding issues in an environmentally safe and efficient manner.

Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?

The District is negotiating a Consent Degree with the EPA and the State of Illinois, et al concerning the long-term control plan for combined sewer overflows compliance. This is a huge, complex issue that will require new regulations and expansion of infrastructure and operations that the MWRD will need to finance and implement. I am totally onboard with this challenge and have the experience and knowledge to ensure that we reach this goal in a manner that represents the best interest of our residential and business community while protecting and sustaining our environment.

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