Sheldon Watts: Candidate Profile
DuPage Township Board (4-year Terms) (Republican)
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.
Office sought: DuPage Township Board (4-year Terms)
Occupation: Regional Compliance Manager with a global telecommunications solutions provider
Education: Bachelor's degree in Psychology (1998) and a Master of Business Administration (2001), both from Roosevelt University. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I am studying Organizational Leadership.
Civic involvement: Current DuPage Township Trustee Former Commissioner Zoning Board of Appeals- Bolingbrook, Il Board Member, Secretary - Bolingbrook Exchange Club Valley View School District FANS Mentoring Program Valley View School District Safety Committee Member Precinct Committeeman Chairman - Bolingbrook Joyfest Planning Committee
Elected offices held: DuPage Township Trustee, 2012 - Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The #1 campaign issue would be ensuring that DuPage Township continues to be a place where residents can receive the assistance they need during these economically challenging times. There continues to be an increase in the number of residents that use the food pantry and request General / Emergency Assistance, (which helps with utility bills, mortgage and rent payments). Services offered also include home foreclosure counseling, which has led to over 600 homes being saved from foreclosure. Over the past 4 years, the current township leadership has been able to maintain the level of services without raising the tax levy.
Key Issue 2
Offering support to the youth in our community is another very important issue. Research shows that it cost over $140,000 to arrest and incarcerate a juvenile for 1 year. It has become critical that as a society, we are proactive in providing counseling, mentorship, tutoring, and other support service that our youth need. DuPage Township's continued focus on the youth, along with partnerships with other youth organizations, is vital to sustaining a safe / desirable community.
Key Issue 3
DuPage Township will need to be prepared for the expected significant growth in the senior population in the years to come. The continued development and expansion of services will need to be examined ongoing to ensure that the level of services match the community's needs.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
* Due to the challenging economic conditions, the use of the DuPage Township's food pantry continues to increase. The food pantry averages over 15,000 visits per year. The Township currently operates with less that 1% of the residents taxes. It will be important for the board to continue to establish relationships with various businesses to help support the growing need for food supply donations. * The DuPage Township board should continue to be mindful of the fact that the tough economy has caused many families to be unable to afford to enroll their children in the traditional park district and other organized sports activities. Continuing to develop internal cost effective programming, combined with partnerships with external businesses and community organizations, will be essential to facilitating the strong youth programming that our youth need for their growth and development. * It should be a goal of the DuPage Township board to be prepared for the senior population's expected growth. Continuing to review and assess the senior programming needs, and expanding as necessary in the future, should be a board objective.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Townships are needed to provide the much needed social services not offered by other levels of government. DuPage Township runs the largest food pantry in Will County that services over 15,000 per year. 600 homes have been saved from foreclosure due to the Township's home foreclosure counseling, and over 400 residents have found employment through the Township sponsored job fairs. DuPage Township has made adjustments to our role by being the first township in the State of Illinois to eliminate the road district.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibility of township government should be to offer the much needed social services that are not offered by other levels of government.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The Township board should continually assess current programming to ensure that they are being delivered in the most cost efficient manner as possible. With that said, the current township board has operated with less than 1% of resident's tax bill and has not raised the tax levy in the past 4 years. There has been increased demand for the services currently offered, so trimming or eliminating services at this time would significantly impact the residents of DuPage Township.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
My corporate business operations management background provides me with the ability to analyze the organization's financial reports, strategically manage the roll-out of critical organizational initiatives, manage resource utilization, and track customer / resident satisfaction. My experiences have also helped me to develop a keen eye for identifying opportunities for cost savings. My formal education that includes a BA, MBA, and currently a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Leadership also contributes to my qualifications to serve as an elected official in the township. In addition, the fact that I am currently a township trustee and very familiar with the role, provides me the ability to offer the continuity and experience that the board needs during these challenging times. My overall commitment to serve the youth and the community at large, has been displayed over the years. During my time as township trustee I was honored to be awarded the 2012 TownshipFriend of the Youth Award? by the Association of Illinois Township Committees on Youth.