Saba Haider: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board District 5


Party: Democratic

Office sought: DuPage County Board District 5

City: Aurora

Age: 38

Occupation: Small business owner

Previous offices held: None


Q: 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.

A: Our current budget for the fiscal year 2022 is $474 million. We have a surplus of $40 million. We should utilize this surplus judiciously to provide critical services to the community which it deserves. I will be very conscientious about how and where we spend that money. We can create programs to strengthen mental health services, support local businesses, and create opportunities for robust economic development in DuPage. I believe there are two major threats that we should pay attention to. The first is a possible economic downturn. We need to invest and save for the future, and support local businesses. The second is cyber security. The county has personal information on hundreds of thousands of people. It is crucial to keep that personal information safe and protected by state-of-the-art security software and technological infrastructure. I want to see a "Cyber Safety" subcommittee on the Board to prepare us for the future, including potential challenges and opportunities.

Q: Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?

A: The single most important service lacking in the county is a comprehensive "Future Ready" plan to move toward a more sustainable and greener DuPage County. We are at a crossroads right now. We have to decide if we are going to ignore the possible dire future of our children. Or, we can be foresighted and take action NOW. Once the vision is aligned with this green future, we can work to provide economic opportunities to local businesses, engineers, laborers, educators, and many more. It will be crucial to focus on the educational aspect of the "Future Ready" plan to make this a collaborative community initiative. Long-term planning should not cost additional taxpayer dollars; this is the type of work that our elected officials - especially County Board Members - have a duty and responsibility to engage in. Long term planning should result in cost-savings as we explore and request state and federal dollars to help become a greener government and a greener economy in DuPage County.

Q: Should the county board continue to start its regular board meetings with an invocation? Please say why or why not.

A: Special attention needs to be paid to make sure that these invocations are inclusive of different faiths and make everyone feel included and part of the system. Prayers should not be used to denigrate or attack any other group. DuPage County is a very diverse community of people from various religious and cultural backgrounds. Creating space for all of them, including agnostics and theists, should be our focus. If we make everyone feel included and celebrated, then we should continue to start the regular Board meetings with an invocation.

Q: Does there need to be more bipartisanship and cooperation on the county board? If yes, what would you do to help make that happen?

A: Yes, there is a need to bring more bipartisanship and cooperation to the county board. When we are elected to the board, irrespective of our party affiliation, our job is to improve the lives of every single DuPage County resident through our service. If we are stuck in a gridlock, work doesn't get done. That has a negative impact on DuPage County residents. I firmly believe that the "why" of serving on the board has to be very clear in every board member's mind. For me, that "why" is to move DuPage forward. I will be able to do that by being an empathetic leader who is willing to listen. I am not afraid of digging deep and researching the issues at hand. I will then make educated, informed and empathetic decisions about how to move DuPage forward.

Q: If your political party has control of the county board after the November election, how would that benefit DuPage residents?

A: If my political party has control of the county board after the November election, it will benefit ALL residents of the county. It is important for us as a county to move forward in a secure, sustainable and sensible direction. We can't grow and thrive as a county if we try to lead by fear mongering and "othering" our own community members and neighbors. We are a diverse, vibrant and growing county. Let's focus on celebrating our rich diversity, economic growth, and future potential. That is the core principle of the Democratic Party. The belief that EVERYONE should have equal rights. Women's rights are about providing a space for women to feel their own strength and tell their stories. If the leaders of the noard believe that everyone should be lifted up, supported and celebrated, this will add tremendous value to the lives of DuPage residents.

Q: The COVID pandemic put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?

A: I am a firm believer that mental health services should be at the center of our focus right now. The mental health impacts of the COVID pandemic were catastrophic. The effects of isolation, fear, sickness and loss are profound. We went through this collective trauma that needs to be addressed. Concrete steps need to be taken to make sure that we are all doing well emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. There is a sudden spike in mental health challenges among kids and young adults. More than two years of their childhood - which should have been full of fun, adventure and learning - were drastically changed. We need to pay attention to them, particularly to those who may not have access to quality health care services. Racial, social and economic inequities are real challenges and we do not want them to slip through the cracks. We also need to pay extra attention to our senior population which was at high risk and suffered the most due to isolation and sickness.

Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?

A: The most important issue facing District 5 is economic sustainability and development. Small businesses have suffered in the last few years. I am a small-business owner and I have personally experienced tremendous challenges. I have worked hard to keep my business thriving. I understand that it requires a lot of adaptability and creativity to sustain a business in this day and age. We need all the support we can get. A thriving business community will also provide ample employment opportunities to DuPage. We need to continue to promote business development in the county and entice companies to relocate closer to our skilled workforce in DuPage. I can help move DuPage forward toward a strong, vibrant and economically thriving future.

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