Back to Will County board District 11
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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Family: Wife - Sarah
Daughters: Heather, Holly, Kellie and Noelle
Son-In-Laws: Justin Olson, Kevin Wilmsen
Grandchildren: Tristin, Skylar, Lucan, Jaxson
Education: BS: Special Education
MS: Rehabilitation Counseling
Civic involvement: Naperville Liquor Commissioner
Naperville Development Partnership
West Suburban Irish - Past President
St. Raphael Church - Religious Ed Teacher, Youth Ministry
Naperville Youth Football League
Naperville Ribfest Volunteer
Naperville Jr. Exchange Club Volunteer
Elected offices held: Will County Board Member
Will County Forest Preserve Commissioner
Chairman, Illinois Professional Counselor Licensing and Disciplinary Board
Illinois Rehabilitation Counselor Association, President
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 running for re-election because I still have a sincere and strong passion for serving the citizens of Will County. If your passion for any elected position is based on a single issue, what happens when that issue is no longer a concern? Will you still have the motivation to keep up with all of the 100's of hours of research, meetings, and events away from family and friends? My passion for ensuring that the Citizen of Will County are well represented along with the love and support of my family and friends - that's what keeps me motivated to run for office.
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?
Safety and Security are the foundation of my priorities for Will County residents. During my tenure I have been involved in many initiatives and taken many votes on policies that impact our County such as
Naperville/Will County recycling program, program consolidations, reduction of annual tax rates, cutting county budgets, creating the Build Will Program for capital and infrastructure programs.
There are two initiatives that I am most proud of. First, when I served as Chairman of the Energy and Utility Resource Committee, my committee led the initiative on how we could extract methane gas from our landfill. We had just opened up the landfill and I knew that other counties in various parts of the country were extracting methane gas and turning it into electricity. Long story short, we now not only bring in revenue from our landfill, we make and sell electricity. Over the life of this project millions of dollars in revenue will be added to our budget.
As Chairman of Capital I halted all building projects until we did a comprehensive capital plan
the first of it's kind for Will County. The plan provided us a clear picture of the needs and allowed us to prioritize projects. This plan has made it possible for us to acquire the necessary funding to implement in a fiscally responsible manner. In fact, Moody says Ã’Will County has an excellent credit positionÃ‰. Key credit factors include a very strong financial positionÃ‰. debt burden of Will County is extremely smallÃ“.
What are the county's open space needs and how should this board address them?
Providing an improved Ã’Quality of LifeÃ“, experience speaks to the bedrock of my Vision for Will County residents. As a commissioner for the Will County Forest Preserve I have been working on open space needs for many years. Back in 2002 we passed a referendum that provided the opportunity to purchase 1000's of acres of open space. We are now in the process of restoring some of that land to it's original environment. Other land is being used for recreational purposes such as Whalon Lake, and the Clow Farm Preserve at Book and 111th street.
Our preserves now cover over 22,000 acres. We have built 100's of miles of trails, dog parks and other recreational environments throughout Will County. Many of the trails are done in conjunction with other government jurisdictions allowing for citizens to connect with other trail systems like DuPage County.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them.
One has to remember that government exists to keep the citizens safe, infrastructure sound and influence on the day to day lives of it's citizens to a minimum. The balance between expenses and revenues are always a challenge that the elected official must have as a Top Priority. Government agencies and bureaucracies that are developed from those agencies work to prove their importance thus their existence. Therefor it is important to be able and deliver maximum amount of services with the least amount of tax dollars. Through my Leadership the Will County Board has defined a Secure and Solid Financial Foundation to further provide Will County Citizens the Services it needs.
One of our major challenges is health care cost. We have for years seen annual health care costs rise 20-30%. Over the last couple of years we have worked with the unions, our employees and our providers to try and reduce the rise of these costs. We have instituted several policies and well being initiatives that have made an impact and slowed down increase. We will need to continue monitoring those policies ensuring a positive impact and change those that need improvement.
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, is and will continue to be, the Chief Operating Principal and commitment I have to Will County Citizens. Government transparency is more than just financial records, which are all available online. Transparency is also the discussions of policy and vision for the direction of the government. As the Republican Majority Leader of the Will County Board, I encourage our citizens to go online and review our agenda items, attend meetings and review our minutes. This will provide an insight into the wide variety of activities that are reviewed by this elected body.
We strive for transparency and it shows from recognitions and awards that we have received both at the Forest Preserve and County. There is always room for improvement and I welcome any suggestions that others may have.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The main issue consistently for me is fiscal responsibility. We were able to make it through the recession of 2008 by working with all our departments to do more with less. We have continued to cut tax rates and look for other revenue sources such as grants, our landfill and methane gas sales. Moody Investors reported that Ã’Will County has an excellent credit position. Its Aa1 rating is slightly above the median rating of Aa2 for US counties. Key credit factors include a very strong financial position, an extensive tax base and a strong wealth and income profile. It also reflects a negligible debt burdenÃ‰.Ã“
This does not happen without oversight. If left on it's own, any bureaucracy will continue to grow. It is the job of our elected officials to ensure that this does not happen without good sound reasoning and fiscal oversight.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Naperville's Former Mayor George Pradel
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Treat others as you want to be treated.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Getting to know my parents better.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
The School experience is a lesson in and of itself
learning how to learn and work with others
how to take disappointment and savor success.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Always look ahead - but enjoy the moment - because it is over to soon.