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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.
Family: Wife- Shelly Children- Kelly,Casey and Jack
Occupation: Small business/Cook County Commissioner
Education: University of Illinois, Bachelor of Science
Civic involvement: Rotary Club of Elgin
Elected offices held: Hanover Township Trustee- 1984-1997 Hanover Township Highway Commissioner- 1997-2006 Cook County Commissioner- 2006-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
I am seeking re-election because there is still a need to further streamline Cook County government. I have and will continue to look for ways to eliminate wasteful spending and explore ways to make Cook County run more efficiently. We need to find ways to reduce the incredible costs of housing inmates at our jail, by providing alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, and expanding electronic monitoring. The pension system is currently only 58% funded. We must find ways to insure benefits to our employees without the costs being born on the backs of our hard working taxpayers.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
I have sponsored ordinances that save families money including the ordinance to repeal the Stroger Sales tax. I sponsored an amendment that allowed municipalities to opt out of the Cook County red light camera program. I passed a major ethics reform measure that reduced the amount of money County vendors could contribute to elected officials. I co-sponsored the proposal to create the Independent Hospital Board that now oversees our hospital system. After decades of mismanagement, we now have an independent group of professionals overseeing our $1 billion dollar system. This has helped to improve accountability and transparency, and eliminate patronage.
Describe your position regarding efforts the county has taken to control spending. How have these measures affected the suburbs, and, in particular, do you support proposals President Preckwinkle has made to eliminate unincorporated areas so they would not be under county control?
Cutting spending has been my number one priority. President Preckwinkle has made strides to improve employee productivity. I will continue to make County government work harder with less. I will continue to fight any measures that would reduce services to suburban residents. The people of my district receive significantly less in services relative to what they pay in taxes-to reduce that further would be inappropriate. I support the reduction in, or elimination of, unincorporated areas of Cook County ONLY if the residents, the Village/City they would annex to, and the County agree. I do not support forcible annexation.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
Transparency in county government has greatly improved since I have been in office, however there is room for more improvement. Taxpayer’s deserve to know how county dollars are spent. They should be able to do this in an uncomplicated fashion.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in Cook County offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
Every County employee, including me, needs to know that the residents of the County are our bosses. They should at all times be treated with the utmost respect, and we must work hard to provide any service or fulfill any request. Automation should be implemented so that it cuts out bureaucracy and saves money- not creating more of it. County departments need to be automated so that they are able to work together. We have spent far too much money over the last decade on automation with far too little benefit.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I will continue to make Cook County work harder with less. By eliminating the Stroger Sales Tax, the County cut nearly $400 million dollars. We have balanced the last four years budget without increasing taxes, despite having between $100 and $450 million dollar deficits each year. As Chairman of the Cook County Workers Compensation Committee, workers compensation reform has been a priority. The claims process needs to be streamlined to prevent fraudulent claims. I encouraged department heads to develop a return to work program to make sure employees that are healthy, return to work in a timely manner.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Senator Mark Kirk for his ability to come to a bipartisan consensus and his perservance after suffering a stroke, he is a true inspiration.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
My parents never gave me anything. They taught me to work hard, and that success can be achieved by giving everything your best possible effort.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have spent more time with my children.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Math. Math helps me every day in my business life, as well as helps me with budgets and figures as an elected official.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Whether at work, play, or in personal relationships- give it your very best effort.