Brendan Houlihan: Candidate Profile

Metro. Water Reclamation District (Democrat)

Updated 2/14/2014 10:40 PM
  • Brendan Houlihan, running for Metro. Water Reclamation District

    Brendan Houlihan, running for Metro. Water Reclamation District

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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.

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City: Palos Heights


Office sought:

Metro. Water Reclamation District

Age: 50

Family: I am married to Bae and we have a daughter named Aisley.

Occupation: I currently handle the financials and marketing of Pentafil Physical Therapy

Education: Bachelor's degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Chicago Gaelic Park (past Board Member), Worth Township Regular Democrat Organization

Elected offices held: Cook County Board of Review Commissioner (December 2006- 2010)

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is that?

I am passionate about public service and believe the MWRD can be a catalyst for addressing what I consider to be the some of most critical issues of our time with respect to the environment and our ability to mitigate further damage to our region's ecosystem. As a father of a young child, the issues that this office deals with are vitally important to me.

What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?

I have a proven track record of bringing transparent, honest, government practices to local government, as my time at the Board of Review demonstrates. I am also the only viable candidate with a young child, and care deeply about the MWRD's mission to keep our waterways clean and safely treat our wastewater for future generations.

What special knowledge or experience do you have that particularly qualifies you for this office?

I have always been a supporter of streamlining processes in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible. During my time as Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review I implemented technological advancements that severely reduced my office's paper use, and increased paperless filings of appeals.

Additionally, as a public servant representing a vast portion of the MWRD, I have a track record of success in building coalitions and engaging the public for the betterment of themselves and their community. Education and outreach are keys to being an effective Water Reclamation Commissioner, just as they were to being an effective Board of Review Commissioner.

What should the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District do to prevent disasters like the widespread flooding that affected the North and Northwest suburbs recently?

As a first step, we should do better job educating the public on some simple practices that can help, such as not washing clothes during a storm.

Most importantly, I plan on actively working with mayors of towns that experience heavy flooding such as Des Plaines, Park Ridge and Niles. The predominant view among the scientific and engineering communities is that storm water is best managed on-site; mitigating the negative impact to adjacent and downstream properties. The Cook County Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) provides for local administrative and enforcement powers to communities that agree to establish a framework that complies with WMO requirements. I will be proactive in reaching out to respective Watershed Planning Councils, community leaders and elected officials -- empowering them to employ on-site management outlined in the WMO and encouraging cooperation.

It would also help to work with other regional entities and advocacy groups. The Army Corps of Engineers has a successful track record with flood prevention projects and I would seek out their involvement. The Corps practice is to maintain a public web site for projects of this nature; providing real time status on all project components.

Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?

The campaign is going well. We submitted over 17,500 signatures -- far more than was required to get on the ballot. We are actively gaining support throughout the District. We have a strong earned media plan in place to announce policy proposals and expanding political support. We have more cash on hand than all of our opponents except one and have a fundraising plan to complete our robust, data-driven, paid communications and field plan in addition to our many dedicated volunteers working to spread our message. I tell you this to convey the fact that I am a viable candidate who is in the race to win and make a positive difference at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.