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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.
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Family: I have a wonderful son, James, who is 21 and attends ASU Barrett Honors College majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing.
My dear sister and nephew live in Arizona so I'm fortunate to be able to visit a warm climate. The rest of my extended family and close friends live in the local area where I can see them frequently.
Occupation: Owner of 3 Montessori preschools
Education: I have an MBA in Economics and an MS in Information Technology from DePaul University. I also attended Oakton Community College's Early Childhood Education program to prepare for opening my preschools. I will be attending the Seton Montessori Administration program in the summer to become a certified Montessori Administrator.
Civic involvement: I have volunteered and served on the board for Habitat for Humanity since the early 90's. I also have volunteered for numerous animal shelters over the years, including H.E.L.P (Helping Endangered and Lost Pets), and PURRS. My son and I photographed the cats that were available for adoption and posted on the website. While my son was in the Cub Scouts, I ran the popcorn sales fundraiser.
I served on the board of the Palomino Springs HOA for a few terms when I lived in that neighborhood. I'm looking forward to helping my new Lakeside neighborhood's social committee.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
I want to build a community park district that supports healthy family fun, respects the environment and stays financially sound. I am a strong proponent of a healthy lifestyle, and firmly believe that a lifetime of good health starts in the earliest years. We need more programs to encourage fun ways to move, outdoor play close to home and healthy food options for our children.
I also know that we need to build sustainable parks if we are to safeguard the environment. Natural landscaping is low maintenance, safe and fun. Recycling and careful water management not only are good for the planet, they save money.
Just as important is balancing our budget while we provide the best quality services. Smarter management of our finances, reducing costs where it makes sense and increasing revenues through better marketing of our programs will create a stable budget for the district.
How do you assess the state of the district's finances? What, if any, changes do you propose to alter the district's financial picture, whether through cost reduction or revenue increases? Please be as specific as possible on where you would propose cutting or how you would propose increasing revenue.
The park district has been well run financially over the years and is supported by tax payers who value its services. However, the district faces some challenges moving forward. A big issue that is looming on the horizon is the skyrocketing cost of health insurance for the district's employees. I would work with the district to find a viable solution to the insurance crisis at a reasonable cost to the district while still providing for the health care needs of the employees and their families who dedicate their service to the park district.
Another area that could use improvement is marketing of park district programs so that facilities and staff are not underutilized. Assessing the appropriate user fees that take into consideration the costs of the programs can help improve revenues without adding to the taxpayer's investments.
I would also review the services provided and performance of the outside vendors who manage some of the districts programs and facilities to see if they are adding sufficient value for the cost.
Lastly, I would carefully review our maintenance costs to see where we could gain savings by altering our procedures or vendors. I would request audits by our utility providers to reduce our energy usage. Switching to more efficient lighting options alone could save the district for example.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
I would look into the golf course management to see if we are getting sufficient value from our current vendor. Careful management of a high value facility such as the golf course could generate significant revenue for the district. We also need to target the best customers for our services and programs, and encourage use by out of district participants to increase revenue.
An audit of programs that aren't fully utilized should be conducted to find other areas that might need to be reduced in scope. Encouraging rental of park district facilities by other organizations (such as private schools) could increase usage and revenues as well.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
There are a few areas where the community's needs may not be fully met:
1. Preschool programs. There is a strong need in the community (especially in the inner neighborhoods of Aurora) for high quality, reasonable cost preschool programs. The district has the facilities to provide programs that will increase the healthiness and emotional well being of its youngest residents. I can provide the knowledge of how to run a quality preschool program.
2. Neighborhood parks. Many neighborhood residents in Aurora don't have parks close to their homes. Parks that are in the immediate vicinity of residents will be used more often and with greater safety than more distant parks. A small neighborhood park is a low cost investment in the well being of the area children.
3. Programs and facilities for teens and young adults. Teens are often difficult to include when developing the programs for park districts. However, keeping teens in safe, fun environments will have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of the teens and the community alike. Actively engaged teens are more likely to be successful in school and stay out of trouble.
If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.
I feel that my background in business, early childhood education and my previous career in information technology give me a unique perspective on overseeing a park district. I can look at the organization as a business on one hand and as a provider of quality services to the community on the other. The two sides need to work together to create a successful organization that meets the needs of its families, employees and other stakeholders.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
My focus areas are:
1. Healthy Lifestyles - the park district's main purpose is to encourage fun activity and promote healthy behavior. I strongly believe that building in healthy behaviors from the earliest ages is the best way to jumpstart good health.
2. Sustainable Parks - natural landscaping is easier to maintain and safer to play in. Recycling and water management reduce both costs and impact on the environment. Energy efficient buildings and vehicles reduce costs.
3. Stable Funding - reducing maintenance costs via energy audits and marketing underutilized programs helps the budget. Finding a solution to our looming health insurance crisis is essential to reducing costs and helping our valuable employees.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Bernie Sanders inspires me in his truthfulness and dedication to helping the people of this country. He is a rare honest man in politics.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
My dad taught me that I could accomplish anything I wanted if I tried hard enough. He instilled confidence, responsibility and motivation in me.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I've had an interesting, fulfilling life, and wouldn't want to change the past. I'm focused on the future and what needs to get done.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Science and economics are my favorites because they explain how the world works in different ways: one explains the natural world, the other people's behavior.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be true to yourself, find your passion in life and be kind to people, animals and planet.