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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.
Office sought: Warren Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I have lived in Lake County almost my entire life growing up in a working class/military family in Zion. I am married for 26 years to my wife Kim and we have lived in Gurnee for the past 24 years. Together we have three great children, Erica, Rachel and
Occupation: Representative for manufacturing companies
Education: Illinois State University, Bachelors in Political Science and Legal Studies - 1985 Roosevelt University, Masters in Public Administration, all courses completed degree still pending practicum completion
Civic involvement: Current: Member, St. Paul the Apostle Church Gurnee Member, Gurnee Exchange Club Member, Friends of Warren Newport Public Library Former: Volunteer Coach, Softball Warren Township President, Westgate Home Owners Association Volunteer Coach, Basketball Gurnee Park District Commissioner, Village of Gurnee Plan Commission
Elected offices held: 2009 Present: Trustee, Warren Township Board of Trustees 2001 2007: Trustee, Warren Township Board of Trustees 1990 1999: Commissioner, Village of Gurnee Plan Commission 1985 1987: Office of the Governor (James R. Thompson) Bureau of the Budget and Legislative Affairs Office
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Always be a friend to our tax payers look to cut costs first and provide value in return for their tax dollars. Make certain we provide essential services to all incorporated areas and quality programs to all township residents without raising taxes. Continue pursuing ways to cut the tax burden without gutting key services that our residents need.
Key Issue 2
Be part of the solution not part of the problem be responsive. The needs of people in our community are always changing - especially in these challenging economic times with higher unemployment. The Warren Township Board has and must continue to be responsive to these changing needs. We have shifted resources to significantly expand our food pantry and counseling services for a rapidly increasing number of at risk residents in recent years. Another example is the ballooning number of children with autism in our community. I am especially proud of the leadership we recently provided to secure a new facility for the Warren Special Recreation Association (WSRA) that will allow them to increase their services to children and adults with disabilities. By the way, WSRA's former facility was a small old farm house that was not even handicapped accessible.
Key Issue 3
Be innovative and continue working cooperatively with other units of local government to hold down costs, expand needed programs to community and avoid costly duplication of services. In Warren Township we have a model that is working and we always strive to develop cost effective partnerships. One such example is the Warren Special Recreation Association our partnership with 3 park districts (Gurnee, Grandwood Park and Wildwood). They have been terrific partners allowing us to provide recreational opportunities to our residents with disabilities including children with autism in a coordinated, cost effective manner. Given the fiscal mess in Illinois at the state level of government, I fully expect slow economic growth, budget cuts and continued pressure on local units of government to provide needed services. It is going be a challenging environment requiring difficult choices, innovative approaches and effective partnerships.
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.
My goals are basically laid out in the three campaign issues above but can be briefly restated as follows: 1.) Manage Warren Township in fiscally conservative/sound manner providing needed services without raising taxes. 2.) Solve problems and be responsive to the changing needs of a diverse population in Warren Township. 3.) Be prepared for increasingly difficult times ahead respond with innovative approaches and reject calls tojust increase taxes? to pay for more services as the state and federal government has become so fond of doing people are ready over taxed!
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
I believe we have abubble? in government starting at the federal level but actually running through all levels of government. We simply have more government than we can honestly afford and people feel over taxed. Officials at every level need to be open to restructuring operations and exploring more cost effective ways to provide needed services and I am so committed. Frankly, there are some units of township government in Illinois that could disappear today and almost no one would miss them tomorrow. However, in Warren Township that is just not the case today. Over 35% of Warren is still unincorporated and the residents in these areas depend on us for all essential services - including road maintenance and snow removal. That is not going to change anytime soon. Beyond that, Warren also provides an extensive range of valued programs and services for our seniors, youth and families that address community needs not being met by other local units of government. Warren is well managed fiscally and as any of the thousands of residents who participate in our programs regularly will tell you we deliver valuable services that make us an asset for the entire community. Having said this, we must all be prepared to reassess our value and adjust moving forward difficult decisions are inevitable at every level of government. Townships are no exception.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
By law, Townships actually are only required to provide Emergency General Assistance. However, Townships can also be a key unit of local government and they are exceptionally well positioned to help provide the program and services deemed necessary by the community. My belief is local government works best and delivers greater value to tax payers. In Warren Township, we have been progressive and responsive to community needs yet careful not to duplicate services provided by others. As a result, we maintain a campus of excellent facilities that contribute positively to the overall quality of life in our community. These include a center with extensive services for senior citizens, a teen center complete with a state of the art skate park, a new facility to better meet the needs of our citizens with disabilities, acres of ball fields and one of the best parks in Lake County for families. As a parent, I have seen first-hand what a positive impact our Township sports and recreation programs can have on our kids when my daughters where involved in cheerleading and softball and I was a volunteer coach. But the best part is many of Warren Township's programs are cost efficient because hundreds of community volunteers that actually make them work. We could not do it without our volunteers, community involvement and support. It is a successful model that works!
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Absolutely, we currently evaluate programs and services on an ongoing basis and in the last few years with challenging economic conditions and more people out of work we have shifted resources around to significantly expand our food pantry and counseling services to aid an increasing number ofat risk? residents. I am committed to keeping our tax levy low and not overspending. Fiscally, Warren Township is well managed we froze salaries in both 2009 and 2013, switched to health reimbursement accounts and raised deductibles to reduce health care costs. We have also reduced staffing in some departments and moved to part-time staff in some cases to eliminate the cost of benefits.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I got involved with Warren Township many years ago first as a volunteer coach hoping to making a positive difference with kids and just give back to the community I have enjoyed living in for almost 24 years now. I became increasingly involved over time. I have been an effective member of the current Warren Township Board of Trustees and would be grateful if the voters allow me to serve another term to help finish some of the things we have started. I bring a well-rounded background of experience in state and local government as well as 25 years of private sector experience working with manufacturing companies. Working in manufacturing has made me highly budget conscious and given me real world perspective on how government policies like spending and taxes can impact people and the economy for better or for worse. This type of experience and perspective is needed in local government especially in challenging economic times if we are to succeed in reducing the overall tax burden while maintaining essential services and community valued programs. Thank you for your consideration.